Romney: A Reckoning by McKay Coppins:
On December 19, Trump abruptly announced on Twitter—without consulting advisers or military leaders—that he was withdrawing two thousand U.S. troops from Syria. The move meant ceding crucial territory to Russia, abandoning allies, and imperiling Syria’s ethnic Kurds, who’d fought loyally alongside America for years to defeat the Islamic State. The next day, Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned, saying he no longer felt he could implement the president’s policies. Mattis, a retired four-star general, had been the quintessential adult in the room—a widely respected figure on whom official Washington had pinned its hopes for staving off an international crisis. Now he was ejecting from the figurative cockpit—and Trump was fully at the controls.
The turbulence wasn’t restricted to foreign affairs. The same day Mattis resigned, Trump petulantly declared that he would not sign any bill that continued to fund the federal government unless it included at least $5 billion for a border wall. If Senate Democrats didn’t acquiesce, he warned on Twitter, “There will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time.”
Two days later, the federal government ran out of money and ground to a halt, sending thousands of workers home without paychecks just before the holiday.