Mattis' Off-the-Cuff Talk to Troops Caught on Video

He asks them to 'hold the line' until US gets back to 'respecting each other'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2017 11:30 AM CDT
Mattis to Troops: 'Hold the Line' for Divided America
Defense Secretary James Mattis attends a news conference Aug. 17 at the State Department in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A video of defense chief James Mattis giving an off-the-cuff pep talk to US troops is gaining traction online. In the clip—see it here—Mattis asks the troops to "hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it," per the Guardian. It's not precisely clear where or when Mattis was speaking, but the best guess is that the impromptu speech was delivered in Jordan during Mattis' trip there last week, reports the Hill. The video was posted to a Facebook page called “US Army WTF Moments," apparently because it's seen as a veiled criticism of President Trump and the turmoil generated in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville.

“The only way this great big experiment you and I call America is gonna survive is if we’ve got tough hombres like you," Mattis tells the troops. "You’re a great example for our country right now. It’s got some problems. You know it and I know it. It’s got problems that we don’t have in the military." At another point, Mattis suggested that America had lost its "power of inspiration," but would get it back. He added that the US has a second power—"the power of intimidation, and that’s you, if someone wants to screw with our families, our country and our allies.” The video was shot before Trump signed a memo blocking transgender enlistments but also giving Mattis leeway on how to deal with transgender troops currently serving. (Read more James N. Mattis stories.)

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