During a tense White House meeting over the Turkey / Syria conflict earlier this week, President Donald Trump called former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, “the world’s most overrated general”.
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The very next day, General Mattis responded during a speech at the annual Al Smith Dinner, a fundraiser for needy children in New York. The response was everything you would expect from a man whose nickname is Mad Dog.
Comedian Martin Short introduced Mattis to the stage by saying “According to the president he’s the ‘most overrated general, I think he’s an American hero.”
“I do stand before you as was noted here, really having achieved greatness. I’m not just an overrated general. I’m the world’s greatest overrated general,” joked Mattis, who received a standing ovation as he stepped to the dais.
The General didn’t hesitate after stepping to the microphone and saying, “I’m honored to be called that by Donald Trump, because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actor. So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals”.
“And you do have to admit that, between me and Meryl, at least we’ve had some victories.”
“Some of you were kind during the reception and asked me if this bothered me, to have been rated this way, based on what Donald Trump said. I said, ‘of course, not. I earned my spurs on the battlefield; Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor‘,” the former Secretary of Defense said.
Mattis went on to say his time serving in combat zones around the world was easier than being involved in the Washington, D.C. morass.
“I tried to bring some peace and order to the places with no organized government, chaotic and warring factions, irrational fears, and toxic hatred. It was hard work, but it wasn’t until I started working in Washington, D.C., that I realized how easy I had it overseas in the combat zone.”
“It’s been a year since I’ve left the administration, the recovery process is going well,” he joked. “The counselor says I’ll graduate soon. A year according to White House time is about 9,000 hours of executive time or 1,800 holes of golf.”
You can see the full speech by Mattis here: