Former US defence secretary Jim Mattis has declined the offer to endorse his ex-boss and US President Donald Trump in the upcoming US Elections. Speaking at a virtual event with Sydney’s Lowy Institute on October 15, the retired four-star general said, “I will decline your offer to endorse a candidate.” He further joked about how the “retired generals need to retire their tongues during election season”.
Even though Mattis refused to endorse Trump against Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden in the elections that are less than a month away, he went on to detail the several qualities he is seeking in the US President. Abilities such as “competence” and “compassion” seem to be opposing Trump’s political brand of ‘America First’. Mattis even mentioned the words of former US President Harry Truman to promised to be “the president of those who did not vote for him”. These words, however, have been tweeted several times by Biden.
"What I would look for most in a leader is competence and compassion," he said.
"I would look to the character and competence of the leader, compassion, empathy with their people, all their people."
A recording of Lowy Institute Live: In conversation with General James Mattis, Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC (Retd) and Lowy Institute Executive Director @mfullilove is now available.https://t.co/mIRdsWpMws— The Lowy Institute (@LowyInstitute) October 15, 2020
Mattis has previously received criticism from Democrats for not raising his voice against Trump and dodging political questions. However, in June 2020 he broke his silence briefly by denouncing Trump's approach of divide and rule after American troops were used to stop largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests.
In an article for Atlantic Magazine, Mattis wrote, "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people -- does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us...We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership."
Meanwhile, after the first presidential debate on September 30 between US President Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden, while the desperation for their second face-off was spiking, the October 15 event was cancelled. Now, in an unprecedented turn of events involving Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and then refusing to take part in a virtual debate, both contenders for US Election 2020 will hold town halls, simultaneously and separately from two different places addressing two different sets of American voters.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden will appear on NBC News and ABC America respectively at 8 PM (EST) on October 15 or 5:30 AM (IST) October 16. While Trump will be taking questions from voters in Miami, his town hall will be moderated by the ‘Today’ show host Savannah Guthrie and is expected to last for an hour. ABC will be carrying Biden town hall and will be held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and will be moderated by ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos. It is expected to last for at least 90 minutes.