In an interview with host Leslie Stahl on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday, President Donald Trump finally addressed rumors that his secretary of Defense, James Mattis, is set to resign.
When asked directly by Stahl, Trump replied: “Well, I don’t know. He hasn’t told me that.”
Take a look:
“He may leave”
But Stahl wasn’t happy with the president’s answer. After she pressed further, Trump gave a more optimistic answer.
“I have a very good relationship with him,” Trump said. “I had lunch with him two days ago. I have a very good relationship with him.”
The president went on to say that he isn’t completely sure if Mattis is planning a departure, and even hinted that the Department of Defense secretary might be playing for the other team.
“It could be that he is — I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth — but General Mattis is a good guy, we get along very well,” Trump said.
He added: “He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. Everybody, people leave, that’s Washington.”
But that’s not all Trump discussed in his recent interview. In response to reports that the White House is enveloped in utter chaos, Trump said: “It’s wrong, it’s so false, it’s fake news.”
“Now, out of hundreds and hundreds of people — some I could’ve not picked — I’m changing things around and I’m entitled to do that,” the president continued. “I have people now on standby that will be phenomenal; when they come into the administration, they’ll be phenomenal.”
“Are people going to go?” Stahl asked.
“Yeah, other people are going to go, sure,” Trump said.
Stahl mentioned that Trump had something of a record with regard to administration turnover, but Trump retorted: “I think I have a great cabinet. There are some people I’m not happy with, I have some people I’m not thrilled with and I have other people that I’m beyond thrilled with.”
It remains unclear for now if there is any truth to the rumors that Secretary Mattis is about to exit the Trump administration, and the president seemed to hint that while such a development may occur eventually — as it does for everyone — it doesn’t appear to be imminent in the case of Mattis. But we’ll just have to wait and see.