Mattis to US troops: 'Hold the line until our country gets back to respecting each other'

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisAfter Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem In Africa, defense without diplomacy and development is a losing strategy McCain pledges 'rigorous oversight' after Air Force failure to report Texas gunman's conviction MORE gave a pep talk to U.S. troops stationed abroad during his trip to three countries last week.

In a video that has recently surfaced on social media, Mattis is seen speaking to U.S. troops in an unknown location. In his remarks to the troops, Mattis said the U.S. is facing “problems.”

“Our country right now, it’s got problems we don’t have in the military,” Mattis said. “You just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Mattis said the U.S. has “two powers” — “inspiration” and “intimidation.”

“We’ve got the power of intimidation, and that’s you, if someone wants to screw with our families, our country and our allies,” Mattis said. “The power of inspiration — [and] we’ll get the power of inspiration back.”

He also thanked the troops for their service and said he came out of retirement to “serve alongside young people like you who are so selfless and, frankly, so rambunctious.”

It’s unclear where the video was taken, but Mattis traveled to Jordan, Turkey and Ukraine over the last week, meeting with top officials to discuss U.S. cooperation in the region. His comments likely came during a week of national turmoil following violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Mattis’s remarks were made before President Trump signed a presidential memo ordering the Defense Department to stop allowing transgender people to enlist in the military. The memo also directs Mattis to further explore to how to handle transgender people currently serving in the armed forces.