"I have a very good relationship with him".
Rumours that Mattis's days as defence chief are numbered have circulated since a book by journalist Bob Woodward about Trump's chaotic White House said the general had questioned Trump's judgment, likening his understanding to that of a 10- or 11-year-old child.
He said he's entitled to staff shakeups and has "phenomenal" people on standby to come work for his administration. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. We get along very well. "Everybody. People leave. That's Washington".
When pressed about consistent rumors that Mattis is close to submitting his resignation, Trump responded: "Well, I don't know".
President Trump suggested Defense Secretary James Mattis may be among the next high-level Cabinet officials to step down, calling the general a "good guy" but "sort of a Democrat".
Mattis has a dim view of journalism about inside-the-beltway politics in Washington, using the word "fiction" to describe Woodward's book and similar reporting about closed-door conversations among US national security leaders.
The US president has given the clearest hints yet about rumors of his Pentagon chief's possible departure. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is the most recent high-level official to resign, announcing Tuesday she would leave the administration at the end of the year. In response, President Trump slammed speculation of trouble was "so false". They'll come into the administration.
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