James Mattis submits resignation

Defense Secretary James Mattis is stepping down over President Trump's controversial decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. ABC News' Lana Zak reports.
2:50 | 12/21/18

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Transcript for James Mattis submits resignation
All that said we're now learning the president plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan. About half of the current force. Sand as the world watches Washington many Americans are watching their 401K is another selloff. Big sell off on Wall Street thanks in part to the uncertainty in Washington. Grab your pepto bismol everybody we got it all covered starting with the Mattis resignation. ABC's lot of Zach had joins us from DC alana. Good morning to you DNA and I cannot believe I'm saying this for the very last time good morning to you I didn't before we get to that. Other high profile resignation. I just want to say on behalf of everybody here in Washington and myself personally that we've loved waking up with you it. Warning it's been fun bids and a busy morning indeed indecent. Exactly so let's get to that in India in his resignation letter general Mattis says that he doesn't think of the United States should be the policeman of the world but that the strength of our nation. Is tied to the strength of our allies. Just one day after president trump announced his decision to pull all US troops from Syria. The secretary of defense general James Mattis announce he will leave the trump administration. He and the president have a good relationship. But sometimes they disagree that the end of the day it's the president's decision to make in his letter to president trump Mattis specifically addresses disagreements with the president over Russia and China. And says he will be leaving quote because you have the right to a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours. On these and other subjects I believe it is right for me to step down from my position. I am shaken by the resignation. Of general Mattis for what it means check country. The message it sends to our troops. Political leaders from both parties reacting with shock senate majority leader Mitch McConnell who is usually publicly circumspect with the president. Called Russia a folk. Writing I am particularly distressed that he is resigning due to sharp differences with the president and senator Marco Rubio tweeting just read general met his resignation letter it makes it abundantly clear that we are headed towards a series of grade policy areas. Which will endanger our nation. For his part the president weeded. A new secretary of defense will be named shortly I greatly thank Jim for his service ABC's Martha Raddatz has covered the Middle East and has known Mattis for years. Secretary Mattis is a man whose life it's been about service and sacrifice he cares deeply about our troops and this country. He had said he would never lead the post as long as he felt his service to the president was valued and productive. That no longer was the case it seems clear that the situation was intolerable for Mattis. Mattis and the president have also disagreed on the role of NATO the transgender band announced on Twitter Korea policy and the president's recent decision. A not only on Syria and Afghanistan but also to send US troops to the border. Mass will officially leave the administration in February Aniston so many Republican in Democrats expressing concern about that resignation want to thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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