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James Mattis says memoir will not be tell-all on Donald Trump, despite clashes

May 28, 2019

Former Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, who clashed memorably with President Trump and his aides in a rocky two-year tenure, is penning a new memoir but says he will not use the book to settle scores.

“Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead” is slated to hit bookshelves in July. But the memoir, which will be co-written with former Pentagon official and military historian Bing West, will not be a “tell all” of Mr. Mattis’ tenure on the Trump national security team, according to the former Marine general.

“I’m old-fashioned: I don’t write about sitting presidents, so those looking for a tell-all will be disappointed,” Mr. Mattis told The Associated Press in a statement. “I want to pass on the lessons and experiences that prepared me for challenges I could not anticipate, not take up the hot political rhetoric of our day.”

Several former administration officials, most notably former FBI Director James B. Comey, have penned memoirs describing a dysfunctional Trump White House beset by confusion, infighting and a blatant disregard for the traditional governing norms.

Mr. Mattis’ book, however, will focus more on his time in uniform, particularly his combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and his tenures as the head of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Joint Forces Command, the AP reported.

Mr. Mattis resigned in protest from the Pentagon in December, citing policy differences with the White House shortly after Mr. Trump announced a surprise withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria and floated plans to halve the U.S. mission in Afghanistan as well.

Patrick M. Shanahan, Mr. Mattis’s deputy secretary, was officially nominated by Mr. Trump to replace Mr. Mattis earlier this month.

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