‘Most overrated general’ Mattis takes swipe at Trump

Updated October 19, 2019

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“I’m not just an overrated general. I am the greatest, the world’s most overrated,” says former US defence secretary James Mattis. — AFP/File
“I’m not just an overrated general. I am the greatest, the world’s most overrated,” says former US defence secretary James Mattis. — AFP/File

NEW YORK: Former US defence secretary James Mattis said on Thursday he was honoured to be the “world’s most overrated general” in a swipe at his former boss Donald Trump, who insulted him earlier this week.

At a gala charity dinner in New York, Mattis told diners he had now “achieved greatness”. “I’m not just an overrated general. I am the greatest, the world’s most overrated,” he said.

“I’m honoured to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress,” he said. “So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals, and frankly that sounds pretty good to me,” he said to laughter and applause at the annual Alfred Smith Memorial Foundation dinner.

“And you do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we’ve had some victories.”

Trump called Mattis “the world’s most overrated general” during an acrimonious White House meeting on Wednesday with top Democrats over Syria policy.

The retired Marine general said he wasn’t bothered by Trump’s comments.

“Of course not, I earned my spurs on the battlefield... and Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor,” Mattis said, in a jab at the medical condition which allowed Trump to avoid the Vietnam draft.

“And I think the only person in the military that Mr Trump doesn’t think is overrated is Colonel Sanders.”

The softly spoken but battle-hardened former Marine left the administration last year, saying in his resignation letter that Trump’s worldview was irreconcilable with his own.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2019