Former US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Thursday refused to approve of his former boss Donald Trump and urged voters to look for leaders who show “competence and compassion”.
“I will decline your offer to sponsor a candidate,” the retired four-star general told a virtual event with Sydney’s Lowy Institute, joking that “retired generals will have to pull their tongues back during election season.”
But the former Marine went on to elaborate on a few traits he’s looking for that seem to contradict Trump’s mere political brand.
“What I would look for most in a leader is competence and compassion,” he said.
“I would pay attention to the character and competence of the leader, compassion, empathy with their people, all of their people.”
Mattis also cited former President Harry Truman’s promise to “be the president of those who didn’t vote for him” – a message that Democratic candidate Joe Biden has channeled in recent days as he tries to attract undecided and swinging voters to win.
Since his resignation, Mattis has received heavy criticism from Democrats for his perceived failure to criticize Trump and his insistence on avoiding political issues despite being a former Trump political representative.
Mattis broke his silence briefly last June after US military personnel were used to suppress largely peaceful demonstrators.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my life who doesn’t try to unite the American people – he doesn’t even pretend to try. Instead, he’s trying to divide us,” he wrote in Atlantic magazine.
“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of these deliberate efforts. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”
Three weeks to the last election day and with millions of ballots already cast, Trump is behind in national polls and in several battlefield states.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)