How Jim Mattis played Trump to restrain him on North Korea

During his time as defense secretary, Jim Mattis sought to deflect President Trump from what he thought were ill-advised decisions in North Korea or Afghanistan by limiting his options, according to the New Yorker.

On one occasion in 2017, he failed to send officers and planners to take part in a war game in front of Trump at the presidential retreat of Camp David.

“He prevented the thing from happening,” a former senior administration official told the magazine, amid suggestions that the exercise may have increased the likelihood of a strike on the hermit kingdom.

On another occasion, he prevented Gen. John Nicholson, who commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan, from meeting the president.

At times, Mattis' maneuvering caused tension between Trump and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, whom Trump blamed for blocking him from doing what he wanted, even though the culprit may have been Mattis.
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