President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE on Wednesday called his former Defense secretary James MattisJames Norman Mattis20 years after 9/11, we've logged successes but the fight continues Defense & National Security — The mental scars of Afghanistan House panel advances 8B defense bill MORE "the world's most overrated general" during a tense meeting with lawmakers on the situation in Syria.
Trump met with Democratic and Republican leaders at the White House to discuss Turkey's incursion into northern Syria following his decision to pull U.S. forces from the area.
During the meeting, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) read a quote from Mattis's appearance Sunday on "Meet the Press," where he warned that "ISIS will resurge" if the U.S. does not keep the pressure on in that region.
Trump cut Schumer off, according to two Democratic aides, and said that Mattis was "the world’s most overrated general."
"You know why? He wasn’t tough enough," Trump said, according to the aides. "I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take two years. I captured them in one month."
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump's remarks.
Wednesday's meeting ended in conflict, and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublicans caught in California's recall trap Raise the debt limit while starting to fix the budget 'Justice for J6' organizer calls on demonstrators to respect law enforcement MORE (D-Calif.) said Trump had a "meltdown." Democrats claimed the president disparaged Pelosi as a "third-rate politician," and the party's leaders walked out soon after.
The meeting was intended to focus on the response to Turkey as it carries out an offensive in northern Syria that has led to bloodshed and uncertainty in the region. Trump has dug in on his decision earlier this month to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria, even as lawmakers in both parties have warned him against the move.
That withdrawal paved the way for Turkey to initiate an onslaught against Syrian Kurdish forces that were instrumental in the U.S.-led fight against ISIS. Just before lawmakers left for the meeting, the House passed a resolution in a 354-60 vote that rebuked Trump’s decision to retreat from Syria.
Mattis, who resigned as Defense secretary last December after Trump announced plans to pull American troops out of Syria before walking it back, was critical of the administration's strategy on Sunday.
"You can pull your troops out, as President Obama learned the hard way, out of Iraq, but the 'enemy gets the vote,' as we say in the military," Mattis said. "And in this case, if we don't keep the pressure on them, ISIS will resurge. It's — it's absolutely a given that they will come back."
Trump was critical of Mattis in the aftermath of his departure, claiming that he "essentially fired" the four-star general from his Cabinet and questioning his strategy in Afghanistan.
Updated at 5:37 p.m.