Trump announced Thursday afternoon that Defense Secretary General Mattis will retire at the end of February.

His resignation letter:

From the WaEx:

Mattis has frequently dismissed media reports suggesting that his days at the Pentagon would be limited. For example, Mattis indicated to reporters in September that he was not considering leaving his post, and instead said, “I think about doing my job each day.”

“Of course I don’t think about leaving. I love it here. I’m thinking about retiring right here. I’ll get a little place down on the Potomac,” Mattis said.

Trump and Mattis were once close but have reportedly grown distant in recent months, meeting less frequently than they had earlier in his term.

The two have clashed on several issues. Trump reportedly overruled Mattis this month with his decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

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