Trump '100 per cent' with me: US defence chief Mattis

Is Secretary James Mattis on his way out? Trump responds to the rumors drops shock admission

Trump said he suspects his defense secretary, General Jim Mattis, might be a Democrat and "could be" heading for the exit.

Mattis, seen as one of the steadiest but also more independent members of Trump's cabinet, has served as a low-profile counterweight to the president in his often abrasive treatment of U.S. allies.

"(Trump) said, "I'm 100 percent with you", Mattis recounted, playing down Trump's remarks to CBS' "60 Minutes", which aired on Sunday.

"It could be that he is". "We're going to do whatever we can do to get it slowed down". That the President's vanishingly rare appearance on a nonpartisan news program had resulted in a spectacle in which randomly assorted questions were bulldozed by a man eager to speak, and in which the interviewer generally left the viewers to decide what those answers meant without the benefit of meaningful follow-up, made the point clear.

Asked about the interview, Mattis said he and Trump "have never talked about me leaving". He was long seen as a force for stability in foreign policy in an administration that has had to manage crises from North Korea to Syria under a president who prides himself on his unpredictability.

"Of course, I don't think about leaving", Mattis told Pentagon reporters last month.

Finally, the president revealed his capacity for self-reflection and humility when Stahl asked him if there was anything he wished he hadn't said or done in his nearly two years in office.

The U.S. leader described the retired Marine Corps general as "a good guy. People leave. That's Washington".

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President Donald Trump: They deny it. "I have some people that I'm not thrilled with", Trump said, without mentioning names. He added: "I have a good energy with him".

Donald Trump sat down for a wide-ranging interview with 60 Minutes, in which he was pushed on China, Russia, climate change, his mockery of Christine Blasey Ford, and whether, as he came toward the end of his second year in office, he had any regrets.

Mattis also disagreed with Trump's decision to halt large-scale joint military exercises with South Korea as the USA has tried to engage directly with North Korea to convince Kim Jong Un to halt its nuclear program.

"I think I have a great cabinet [but] there are some people I'm not happy with".

"I think something's happening", Trump said. "I think the secretary of state will be airborne shortly".

The answer that Stahl wants-and, one presumes, that most Trump critics want-is an unequivocal statement that the president will pull out of virtually all contact with the Saudis.

When asked about Mattis' potential departure, Trump replied, "Well, I don't know".

Asked directly whether he is a Democrat, Mattis said, "We're all built on our formative experiences".

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