Mattis' final words from Pentagon: 'Hold fast' with allies
Jim Mattis ended one of history’s more turbulent tenures as defense secretary Monday by re-emphasizing a key difference with President Donald Trump and encouraging Pentagon employees, civilian and military, to “hold fast” in safeguarding the nation.
Mattis, who submitted his resignation Dec. 20 and was, in effect, fired by Trump three days later, spent the day in his third-floor Pentagon office preparing to hand off his duties at midnight to Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, will be acting defense secretary until someone is nominated for the post. In a written farewell message, Mattis urged all employees to “keep the faith in our country and hold fast, alongside our allies, aligned against our foes.”