Jan 6, 2021 8:35 PM EDT

Mattis blames Trump for violence at Capitol

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who resigned in protest over President Donald Trump’s Syria policies, blamed the president for the violence at the U.S. Capitol.

In a sharp rebuke Wednesday, Mattis said the violence was fomented by Trump, who has used the presidency “to destroy trust in our election and to poison our respect for fellow citizens.”

His written statement concluded, “Our Constitution and our Republic will overcome this stain and We the People will come together again in our never-ending effort to form a more perfect Union, while Mr. Trump will deservedly be left a man without a country.”

Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general who stepped down as Pentagon chief in December 2018, had an embattled relationship with Trump, but largely remained publicly quiet and avoided direct criticism. Since he left the job, however, he has been more openly derisive of Trump, including a public condemnation of the president’s heavy-handed use of military force to quell protests near the White House last June.

-The Associated Press