In Mattis' Farewell Message to Staff, an 1865 Quotation

He urges defense employees to stay focused on their mission
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 31, 2018 11:00 AM CST
In this Sept. 21, 2018, file photo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks during the 2018 POW/MIA National Recognition Day Ceremony at the Pentagon.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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(Newser) – Outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is quoting President Abraham Lincoln in a farewell message to defense employees, urging them to stay focused on their mission. Mattis quoted from a letter Lincoln wrote in 1865 to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. It said: "Let nothing which is transpiring, change, hinder, or delay your military movements, or plans." It seemed a veiled reference to the White House's national security policy, reports the AP.

Mattis, who resigned over Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, said he's confident Defense Department employees will remain "undistracted from our sworn mission to support and defend the Constitution while protecting our way of life." In his message released Monday, his last day on the job, Mattis urged employees to "keep the faith" in America and work alongside US allies against adversaries. (President Trump had plenty to say about Syria on Monday.)

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