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In addition, the Woodward book said that Mattis ignored Trump's demand to plan an assassination attempt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in April 2017, after Syria launched chemical attacks in the Damascus suburbs.
Vietnam "is a growing defense partner in a number of ways, ' Mattis said".
Trump was repeatedly and expressly asked whether he would reinstate the policy of separating immigrant parents and children at the US-Mexico border, but would not give a straight answer, saying "we're looking at a lot of things".
The retired Marine general had stepped down from the military in 2013 and taken a job at Stanford University. Mr Mattis is also a staunch supporter of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, whereas Mr Trump has questioned its value to America.
"He is not telling them or mandating them to change their strategy, he's not telling them to change their policy", Kudlow said.
When asked whether he was a Democrat or a Republican, Mattis replied that he has never registered for any political party.
The assertion comes just days after the United States president mused on American national television about Mr Mattis leaving his post. He may leave - I mean, at some point, everybody leaves.
"The Senate must watch over the Attorney General and (Secretary of Defense) positions or we will be in peril", McCaffrey tweeted. He also pointed to a long military career that taught him to act in a "proudly apolitical" manner, in which USA servicemembers carry out orders from Republican and Democratic presidents alike.
As Defense Secretary, Mattis has avoided the expressions of loyalty to Trump sometimes voiced by other Cabinet members.
Mattis opposed the idea past year but has since endorsed it.
"The legacy of the war has turned into actually a basis for defense cooperation", he said. The airbase, north of Ho Chi Minh City, is the site of a USA -sponsored cleanup of Agent Orange, the herbicide used in the Vietnam War that was linked to serious illnesses and birth defects. Barrels of Agent Orange had been staged at Bien Hoa for US use as a defoliant elsewhere in Vietnam, and when the USA chose to stop spraying Agent Orange, the remaining barrels of toxic liquid were collected and stored at Bien Hoa before being flown out of the country.
After his Vietnam visit, Mattis is set to travel to Singapore where the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting is due to begin on Thursday. Appearing the same weekend as First Lady Melania Trump's appearance on "20/20", this would seem to represent a new level of media blitzing on the part of an administration that's already seen its head get plenty of free promotion during rallies broadcast on cable news.
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