Daily VideoDecember 21, 2018
Defense Secretary Mattis departs President’s cabinet
Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and then answer the discussion questions. Your students may find it helpful to follow along using the transcript.
Summary: A day after President Trump announced a surprise decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, Secretary of Defense James Mattis submitted his resignation, which will take effect in February. The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Gordon joins Judy Woodruff to discuss why the policy differences between the president and Mattis were “too profound” to continue working together.
1) What subjects did Mattis and Trump disagree on? Why was Syria the last straw before Mattis’s departure, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Gordon?
2) Mattis writes in his resignation letter to Trump: “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.” What tone does his letter take? Do you think Mattis should have stayed in his position? Why or why not? Do you think cabinet secretaries and the president should always agree with each other? Explain.
3) What is the significance of Mattis’s departure?
4) Why have so many high-ranking members left the Trump administration in the last two years? You may want to take a look at this CNN departure chart.
5) Media literacy question: Why is Mattis’s resignation letter below considered a primary source? Why is this NewsHour article considered a secondary source?
Tooltip of related stories
Tooltip of more video block
Submit Your Student Voice
In this current events lesson, check out the PBS NewsHour’s 2-minute news wrap from Mon. March 31st. Continue reading
In this NewsHour current events lesson, learn about how health care professionals are handling the challenges of the coronavirus. Continue reading
In this current events lesson, check out the PBS NewsHour from Mon. March 23rd, on the cancellation of the Olympics and an update on Afghanistan. Continue reading
In this NewsHour current events lesson. Yo-Yo Ma, one of the world’s most renowned and beloved musicians, provides comfort in this time of crisis. Continue reading
Watch this PBS NewsHour two-minute news wrap from March 17th and answer the accompanying focus question. Continue reading