James Mattis, 68, former U.S. Marine Corps general who was widely revered by rank-and-file Marines for his blunt talk and leadership, was recruited by President Trump into his administration as Secretary of Defense, to the roaring approval of conservatives and patriots.
Mattis was defense secretary for only two years, from January 20, 2017 to December 31, 2018.
According to Wikipedia, on December 20, 2018, a day after Trump’s announcement of an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Syria over the objections of his national security advisers, Mattis submitted his resignation after failing to persuade Trump to reconsider. Mattis had recently said that the U.S. would remain in Syria following the defeat of ISIL to ensure they did not regroup.
Mattis’ resignation letter contained language that appeared to criticize Trump’s worldview, such as praising NATO which Trump has often derided. In his letter, Mattis wrote that Trump has “the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with [his] on these and other subjects” and that his resignation would be effective February 28, 2019. Three days later, angered by Mattis’ implicit criticism of Trump’s worldview, Trump moved Mattis’ departure date up to January 1. A day after Mattis’ departure, on January 2, 2019, Trump criticized Mattis’ performance as Secretary of Defense and said he had “essentially fired him.”
Now we know the real reason why Mattis resigned or was fired: At least seven months before he resigned, Mattis had put together a plan to challenge Trump in the 2020 Republican primary elections.
This stunning news is from Big League Politics, whose sources are:
- Travis Snyder, 25, an Indiana-based political consultant who was the point man for a team working to launch a Mattis Republican primary campaign against President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Insiders say Snyder is close to Vice President Mike Pence.
- Alex Rountree, a conservative consultant whom Snyder tried to recruit for the Mattis team.
As recounted by Patrick Howley for Big League Politics, May 22, 2019, then Defense Secretary “James Mattis and some White House employees were directly aware of and monitoring a team working to launch a Mattis Republican primary campaign against President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, according to documents obtained by Big League Politics and statements from the organizers who put the team together.”
In a series of interview, Travis Snyder told Big League Politics: “My job was to see what his [Mattis’] pathway to the White House would look like. There was a very small team. I oversaw early states polling, putting together possible running mates. I did not work with the fundraising team. I solely looked at what his path to the nomination would look like, and then his pathway to the White House. General Mattis was aware of the effort. He knew of the team, who exactly brought the team together. There are people who currently serve in the White House who knew that the team was coming together. This group is no longer active.”
Snyder kicked off his Mattis whisper campaign by planting an article with Andrew Feinberg, who wrote an August 2018 piece for Beltway Breakfast headlined, “Defense Secretary Mattis Weighing 2020 Bid, Predicts He’d ‘Kick Trump’s Ass’“.
August 2018 was four months before Mattis submitted his resignation.
Snyder said Nikki Haley and Dan Creshaw were polled as a VP nominee in the event that Mattis ran. Also Jackie Walorski, Mitch Daniels, and regional smaller named people like Staff Sergeant Johnny Joe Jones. Snyder said his team also polled Vice President Mike Pence’s chances to run against Trump, but found that Pence had no chance.
Snyder declined to name the donors to the effort or the main person organizing it.
Snyder approached conservative consultant Alex Rountree about being part of the team, but Rountree told Big League Politics he wanted nothing to do with it. Rountree had signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement with Snyder, but the agreement is now expired.
Rountree says he never had any intention of helping Snyder, only in exposing the establishment plot to betray President Trump. Rountree identifies Snyder as being “good family friends with Pence” and also an adviser to Jackie Walorski, the congresswoman in Pence’s old district. According to Rountree, Snyder made it appear that Pence was supportive of the primary challenge to Trump. Rountree told Big League Politics:
“He [Snyder] was fluffing around a little bit about Pence, saying, ‘Pence wouldn’t be upset if Mattis ran.’ Somebody who knew the President’s every move all the time was working with Mattis: that turned out to be (John) Kelly. They were hoping for Nikki Haley on the ticket. [Snyder was trying to put together] 15 consultants or operatives in 15 different states. He said he had a polling firm that just signed an NDA that worked for the [Ted] Cruz campaign.”
Ted Cruz’s pollster during the 2016 election was The Polling Company, the president and CEO of which was KellyAnne Conway, who resigned from the company on January 20, 2017 to become Counselor to President Trump. Snyder did not deny Conway’s possible involvement in the Mattis team.
Snyder told Rountree that the Mattis team had representatives in Arizona, Michigan, Virginia and Florida.
Below are screenshots of handwritten notes that Rountree took of his conversations with Snyder on May 16 and 17, 2018, seven months before James Mattis submitted his letter of resignation:
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