Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told aides that he would rather “swallow acid” than allow President Trump to throw a lavish military parade, according to a forthcoming book written by his ex-speechwriter. According to The Daily Mail, Guy Snodgrass claims Mattis said the parade would “harken back to Soviet Union-like displays of authoritarian power” and be a waste of $50 million. However, Mattis told Trump he would look into organizing the parade and continued to placate him until he was eventually forced out. Trump ended up throwing the ‘Salute to America’ military parade earlier this year after Mattis had left.
Snodgrass also writes that Mattis found out about Trump's intention to ban transgender people from the military from Trump's public tweet, which prompted him to say that the president was holding the government in a chaotic hostage situation. “No one move or the hostage gets it!” Mattis is described as saying, after making his hand into a gun with his fingers and putting it to his head. The former secretary of defense is also described as calling the White House “too undisciplined” to be trusted and having a strategy towards Russia that was “like sex in the 1990s—all about instant gratification.”
Mattis' assistant Candace Currier did not comment on the accuracy of Snodgrass' claims, but said he was a “junior staffer who took notes in some meetings but played no role in decision making.”