A top State Department official who resigned in protest of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops in Syria wished his colleagues well in a tweet Monday as they face what he called “extremely difficult circumstances.”
Brett McGurk, the outgoing U.S. envoy to the global coalition fighting the self-described Islamic State, submitted his letter of resignation to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Dec. 21. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis submitted a searing letter of resignation to the president a day earlier.
“Today was my last day at the State Department,” McGurk tweeted Monday. “I wish my former civilian and military colleagues well as they work under extremely difficult circumstances to protect the interests of our great country.”
McGurk had planned to leave his position in mid-February but decided to accelerate his exit from the State Department after Trump announced his Syria withdrawal plan against the advice of top military officials.
Earlier this month, McGurk stated that it would be “reckless” to claim the Islamic State had been defeated and premature to bring American troops home.
McGurk was appointed by President Barack Obama in October 2015 and retained by Trump. He previously served as the deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran.
Trump responded to news of McGurk’s resignation by bashing the State Department official as a “grandstander.”
“The Fake News is making such a big deal about this nothing event!” the president tweeted.
Mattis sent a farewell message to all Defense Department employees earlier Monday. In his note, he implored his colleagues to “support and defend the Constitution while protecting our way of life.”
“Keep the faith in our country, and hold fast, alongside our allies, aligned against our foes,” Mattis wrote. “It has been my high honor to serve at your side.”