President Donald Trump’s controversial tweet which promised to restore a ban on transgender service members in the military caught the Pentagon off guard while Defense Secretary James Mattis was on vacation this week, The Hill reported Sunday.
“It’s never a good sign when a major policy pronouncement is made that was clearly not coordinated with senior leadership,” a source told The Hill. “I can tell you, no matter how they’re spinning it, I was there that day, and everybody was caught — all the senior officers who were left there with Gen. Mattis on vacation — they were all caught totally flat footed.
“They were all scrambling because they were getting killed by Congress for not giving a heads up.”
Secretary Mattis has been directed by the president to conduct a six-month review of the transgender military policy, but President Trump announced a change via Twitter, reportedly before informing the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford, who had to issue a memo Thursday there was no official change in policy.
Trump’s preemptive announcement amid the six-month review “kind of steals the show,” a source told The Hill.
“To have to go through that and having it ripped out of your hand and being determined by your commander in chief — though he is allowed to do that — I think it frustrated those who have been working on it, as though all that work has been for naught,” the source said, per The Hill.
“It’s like you’re just about to announce the second runner up of the beauty pageant and someone runs out and announces the winner. It kind of steals the show.”
Mattis’ position on the matter is yet unknown while he is on vacation, but the retired general has ridiculed speculative media reports of in-fighting and discord in the past.
“We love reading the news,” Mattis told reporters in the past of a reported rift with National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. “We love reading those kinds of stories.
“I’m amazed sometimes when I’m having a…