READ: Defense Secretary Mattis's resignation letter

Defense Secretary James Mattis announced Thursday that he would resign in February, sending a letter to President Trump stating that he deserved a general "whose views are better aligned with yours."

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The announcement came shortly after the White House said the U.S. would be withdrawing its troops from Syria, as well as reports it was considering a drawdown in Afghanistan. Both moves have been met with opposition by Pentagon officials and members of the foreign policy establishment. 

In his resignation letter to Trump, Mattis said he was resigning “Because you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours.”

His letter was released minutes after Trump said on Twitter that Mattis was "retiring."

Read Mattis's full resignation letter below.