Mattis: ‘I’m saving money for bombs’ instead of tokens of gratitude for troops

Mattis: ‘I’m saving money for bombs’ instead of tokens of gratitude for troops
© Greg Nash

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Lawmakers struggle with how to punish Saudi Arabia | Trump regrets not visiting Arlington for Veterans Day | North Korea deports detained American Ousted Bolton aide says it was 'an honor' to serve Trump administration MORE said he does not carry tokens of gratitude to hand out to U.S. troops, saying “I’m saving money for bombs.”

Mattis made the comment to Breitbart News after a reporter relayed a message from a U.S. Marine who asked whether the secretary was carrying challenge coins during a trip to an international terrorism conference in Jordan earlier this year. 

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Defense leaders often carry the coins and hand them out to servicemen and women as a sign of their gratitude. 

The anecdote comes as the Trump administration approaches its one-year mark. 

Mattis was overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate in a 98-1 vote earlier this year. 

He has had an eventful year as Defense secretary, dealing with a slew of issues from the growing crisis in North Korea to President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE's proposed ban on transgender recruits in the military. 

The Defense secretary issued a stark warning in September to North Korea, telling the country it would be met with a "massive military response" if it continued to threaten the U.S. and its allies.