Ouch. Many of us were surprised when President Donald Trump launched into former US defense secretary James Mattis at his controversial meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump referred to him as “the world’s most overrated general” and claimed “I captured ISIS.” Mattis, who has been largely silent after his departure, delivered a body blow of a response as part of the annual Alfred E Smith Memorial Foundation dinner. Using the tradition roast format, Mattis found the perfect venue to hit Trump under the guise of humor. True to his training, the well-delivered lines aimed for critical organs. It could be worse: David Cameron just labeled Boris Johnson the “greased piglet” and meant it as a compliment in getting Brexit through Parliament.
Mattis, one of the most respected military minds in the United States, stated:
“I’m not just an overrated general. I’m the greatest, the world’s most overrated. I’m honoured to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress. So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals, and frankly that sounds pretty good to me.”
Then he delivered the coup de grace: “I earned my spurs on the battlefield … and Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor” — a reference to the long questioned letter from Trump’s doctor that kept him out of the Vietnam War.