James Mattis kept declining White House requests to appear on Fox News
Secretary of Defense James Mattis has maintained a low, apolitical profile amidst a nation that is plagued with non-stop politicized rhetoric led by perhaps the most divisive presidential administration in U.S. history. According to a report by the New York Times, the key to this non-partisan approach has been to avoid going on President Donald Trump’s favorite show, “Fox & Friends.”
“For him to do his job, he has to be apolitical,” Dov Zakheim, the Pentagon’s top financial officer in the first term of President George W. Bush, told the New York Times.
Mattis has only appeared on a Sunday news program once since beginning his new job and only held a news conference once: A May 19 presser regarding the the fight against the Islamic State, because the president had requested him to.
With his obsession over loyalty, and immediate dismissals of any variations of dissent, Trump has been a strong supporter of “Fox and Friends,” commonly praising them on Twitter, sending them messages or simply retweeting some of their posts.
Great reporting by @foxandfriends and so many others. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2017
.@foxandfriends Dems are taking forever to approve my people, including Ambassadors. They are nothing but OBSTRUCTIONISTS! Want approvals.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
My daughter, Ivanka, will be on @foxandfriends tomorrow morning. Enjoy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2017
It’s hard to overstate how problematic it could be to have the secretary of defense appear on a highly partisan news show to discuss both current and future military policies.
This week, the public will have a rare glimpse at Mattis in a public forum, as he will be appearing before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, according to the Times. Mattis has managed to refrain from getting political thus far, but he will surely have to answer questions regarding issues such as Qatar, and climate change.