U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has no filter when he speaks. It doesn’t matter if he’s speaking to reporters or the troops whom he sends into harm’s way to defend the nation.
Fortunately for America, this has resulted in a series of jaw-dropping quotes that — along with his exemplary military service — have helped turn the former Marine general into a living legend. And he’s adding to his list of unforgettable quotes every day.
Here are eight of the best quotes from Gen. Mattis since he accepted the job of defense secretary from President Donald Trump.
1. On his order to “annihilate” Russian mercenaries in Syria
“The Russian high command in Syria assured us it was not their people, and my direction to the chairman was for the force, then, to be annihilated. And it was.”
2. On what keeps him awake at night
“Nothing, I keep other people awake at night.”
3. On President Trump’s proposed military parade
“I’m not paid for my feelings, I save those for my girlfriend.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis: “I’m not paid for my feelings, I save those for my girlfriend.” talking to Pentagon press corps when asked if he has misgivings about been told to plan a #MilitaryParade
— Barbara Starr (@barbarastarrcnn) February 8, 2018
4. On civilian casualties of war
“I’m never OK with any civilian casualty. Don’t screw with me on this.”
That’s the no-nonsense answer one reporter received after asking the defense secretary if he’s “OK” with civilian casualties.
5. His first message to DoD employees
“Every action we take will be designed to ensure our military is ready to fight today and in the future. Recognizing that no nation is secure without friends, we will work with the State Department to strengthen our alliances,” he wrote in a letter. “Further, we are devoted to gaining full value from every taxpayer dollar spent on defense, thereby earning the trust of Congress and the American people.”
New US Sec Def James Mattis’ message to DoD employees following swearing in pic.twitter.com/nt3GmLvG7F
— Idrees Ali (@idreesali114) January 21, 2017
That really says it all.
6. On his “concerns” for 2018
“As you know, I don’t have concerns. I create them.”
He’s not lying either.
“As you know, I don’t have concerns. I CREATE THEM.” _ Defense Secretary James Mattis pic.twitter.com/1xzp2N0h5J
— Dawn DeMore #ISTANDWITHGENFLYNN (@Dawn_DeMore1) January 6, 2018
7. On military sacrifice amid Washington gridlock
When a potential government shutdown was looming earlier this year, Mattis made it clear to Congress that they had an obligation to make sure America’s military heroes are taken care of regardless of the partisan bickering going on in Washington.
“Three days from now I will visit our nation’s first security force assistance brigade in Fort Benning, Georgia, as they prepare to deploy to Afghanistan,” he said. “To advance the security of our nation, these troops are putting themselves in harm’s way, in effect signing a blank check payable to the American people with their lives. They do so despite Congress’s abrogation of its constitutional responsibility to provide stable funding.”
8. His message to America’s foreign enemies
“Take us on and it will be your worst day and your longest day.”
MATTIS has message for foreign enemies: “Take us on and it will be your worst day and your longest day”
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) February 1, 2018
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of America’s enemies shivering in fear.