Mr. Mattis’s resignation letter on Thursday served as a rebuke of the president’s sharp demands of America’s allies and softened approach toward some of its adversaries. Only over the weekend did Mr. Trump realize that Mr. Mattis’s letter was a critique of the president’s policies, leading him to accelerate Mr. Mattis’s departure.
.. “I very deeply regret the decision made on Syria,” President Emmanuel Macron of France said during a news conference over the weekend. “To be allies is to fight shoulder to shoulder. It’s the most important thing for a head of state and head of the military. An ally should be dependable.”
.. Focusing on money saved, Mr. Trump sent more than 10 Twitter posts in four hours.
In one, he declared that Saudi Arabia would “spend the necessary money needed to help rebuild Syria, instead of the United States.” It was not immediately clear how or when that would happen.As he assailed critics of his “America First” approach, Mr. Trump also targeted Mr. McGurk, the envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State.
The president misleadingly called Mr. McGurk an Obama-era appointee, and accused him of “loading up airplanes with 1.8 Billion Dollars in CASH & sending it to Iran” as part of the nuclear deal that world powers struck with Tehran — an agreement from which Mr. Trump has withdrawn the United States.
.. The Obama administration did not directly give money to Iran as part of the 2015 nuclear deal; instead the United States unfroze billions in assets as part of a decades-long debt dispute, $1.7 billion of which was transferred in cash in 2016.
.. Mr. McGurk, who worked in the administration of President George W. Bush as well as President Barack Obama, led the delicate, 14-month negotiations with Iran that prompted the release of Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist. This summer, Mr. McGurk was the target of assassination threats from Iranian-backed militias and demonstrators in Iraq.
.. Over the weekend, Mr. Trump suggested on Twitter that Mr. McGurkwas a “grandstander.” The envoy resigned in protest over the Syria decision, which he said had blindsided United States officials and allies in the Middle East, including American-backed Kurdish soldiers who are fighting the Islamic State.
The president also said he was making progress on negotiations with North Korea, despite the State Department having been stymied so farin efforts to persuade the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, to begin the process of dismantling its nuclear arsenal. “Looking forward to my next summit with Chairman Kim!” Mr. Trump tweeted.
.. After his initial burst, Mr. Trump tweeted that he had just given out “a 115 mile long contract for another large section of the Wall in Texas.” White House and Department of Homeland Security officials did not respond to a request for comment on what the president meant, and Mr. Trump did not elaborate when he briefly appeared in front of reporters on Monday night.