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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 MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Biden under pressure to remove Trump transgender military ban quickly Progressive House Democrats urge Biden against Defense chief with contractor ties 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 TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump 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.