Under the Radar

Sound Off: Should Mattis Keep Trump in Check?


President Trump has very strong ideas about the role of the executive branch and hasn't been afraid to use its power in a series of controversial executive orders. Fox News is keeping a running list of Trump's orders here.

His most controversial order imposed a 120-day suspension of the refugee program and a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from citizens of seven countries that have harbored or supported terrorists: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. All of us who watch the news have seen the public protests, but there are also rumors that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has issues with how the president handled the ban and its announcement.

Last year, in a speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Mattis objected to candidate Trump's call for a ban on Muslim immigration.  “This kind of thing is causing us great damage right now, and it’s sending shock waves through the international system,” he said.

President Trump chose to announce this particular executive order in the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon on January 27th with Vice President Mike Pence at his side. The New York Times reported that Mattis was still "sharply opposed" to the Muslim ban.

The president obviously has a lot of respect for men and women in the military. He's added veterans to key positions in his administration in numbers we haven't seen since the end of World War II.

Jaime Weinstein, a conservative commentator who was on the front lines of the #NeverTrump movement, wrote an editorial for the Guardian this week about the roles of retired Marine generals Mattis and John Kelly in the Trump administration. (Kelly is now head of the Department of Homeland Security). Weinstein is an admirer of both men and openly wonders if they'll be able to keep the president from taking counterproductive advice from his political advisors. If not, would a threat to resign from either general get the president's attention?

What do you think? Does General Mattis represent a conservative check on the Trump administration? If the president and Mattis do in fact disagree on matters of policy, whose judgment should we trust? Sound off!

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