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Around the world, allies express dismay at Mattis departure

The resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reverberated around the world Friday. Although he disagreed with the president repeatedly over major issues, the retired four-star Marine Corps general was widely admired and seen as a stabilizing force within the administration. John Yang has global reaction to the departure of a military legend described as "a partner for all occasions."

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And now to our other major story, the fallout and rising fear over U.S. foreign policy.

    John Yang reports on the first casualty of President Trump's decision to retreat from Syria.

  • John Yang:

    Defense Secretary James Mattis' abrupt resignation has rattled nervous U.S. allies. The French foreign minister regretted the loss of a reliable partner.

  • Florence Parly:

    What I can say is that he is a colleague, which I very much appreciate, with whom I have worked a lot. He's a great soldier, and has been a remarkable secretary.

  • John Yang:

    Australia Senator Jim Molan, a retired general who served alongside Mattis in Iraq, said it's clear Australia must depend less on the United States and become more self-reliant.

    In Washington, the resignation rocked lawmakers in both parties. Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine:

  • Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.:

    Jim Mattis is one of finest public servants I have worked with in my entire career.

  • John Yang:

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was distressed at the news.

    The Mattis resignation letter was noteworthy for its absence of any praise for President Trump. Instead, he cited his differences with the commander in chief, writing: "You have the right to have a secretary whose views are better aligned with yours."

  • Donald Trump:

    We are going to appoint "Mad Dog" Mattis as our secretary of defense.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • John Yang:

    The seeds of discord were present when Mr. Trump announced in 2016 that the retired four-star Marine general would run the Pentagon. Mattis has made it known that he hates the nickname "Mad Dog."

    After that, he repeatedly disagreed publicly with the president by supporting NATO and other alliances, criticizing Russian interference in U.S. elections, and opposing the president's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal transgender military ban.

    Then came Mr. Trump's sudden decision this week to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, a move Mattis strongly disagreed with.

    At the White House last night, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders acknowledged the rift.

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

    He and the president have a good relationship, but sometimes they disagree. The president always listens to the members of his national security team, but, at the end of the day, it's the president's decision to make.

  • John Yang:

    Mattis plans leave the Pentagon at the end of February.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

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