Mattis pokes fun at being deemed 'overrated' by Trump

Elias Hubbard
October 20, 2019

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, center, delivers the keynote address during the 74th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in NY.

The four-star general likened himself to the award-winning actress a day after Trump called him "the world's most overrated general" in a meeting with congressional Democrats about Turkey's invasion of Syria. Because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress. "Frankly that sounds pretty good to me".

The president was onstage in Dallas at the same time as Mattis' keynote, delivering a campaign speech to a packed crowd at American Airlines Center.

Mattis was nominated by Trump and sworn in as the 26th U.S. Secretary Defense in January 2017. The annual event raises millions of dollars for poor families in NY.

In addition to Mattis, Mary Ann Tighe, a NY commercial real estate broker, was given the Happy Warrior Award, named in memory of Al Smith, who also served as New York's governor. "I tried to bring some peace and order to places with no organized government, chaotic and warring factions, irrational fears and toxic hatred", Mattis told diners.

Mattis went on to say that he'd been asked if Trump's comments had bothered him.

Bolduan noted that Hertling has always been a critic of Trump, and asked why he was calling Mattis unprofessional for his comments.

"I know he's speaking at a dinner supposed for jokes, nonetheless this is correct an absurd and undignified strategy for Mattis to manufacture his first public opinions of the president", Susan Hennessey, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and executive editor of the Lawfare weblog, mentioned in a tweet Thursday.

Mattis noted that Lincoln believed great nations could fall due to "corrosion from within - the rot, the viciousness, the lassitude, the ignorance". "I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform".

But for other observers, Mattis's zingers drew attention to the military officer's reticence to substantively criticize the president.

Mr. Mattis also referred to earlier remarks by the actor Martin Short, who was the master of ceremonies at the dinner, setting up a punch line.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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