THE PENTAGON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told a number of reporters that he "absolutely" wasn't leaving his post at the Pentagon "any time soon" as he made his way out to his car with a large cardboard box, sources confirmed today.
"I wouldn't take these stories seriously at all," Mattis said of recent news stories speculating on his imminent departure from the Trump administration. "This stuff is all cooked up by the media just looking for a good story," the former general added, before opening up his car's trunk, which was filled with papers, photos, plaques, and other mementos that he removed from his office.
"I'm just, uh, bringing these back home so I can swap them out with other photos and trinkets that I want instead," Mattis sheepishly told reporters, when questioned about all the suits hanging in his back seat as well as the various 'good luck in retirement!' greeting cards found strewn across his passenger side.
Rumors have swirled that President Donald Trump has soured on Mattis in recent months, apparently due to a number of private clashes over defense policy. The speculation has reached a fever pitch in recent days, especially after the publication of Bob Woodward's book on the Trump administration, which reported the defense secretary compared Trump's understanding of national security to a "fifth or six grader."
"I really love fiction, which is absolutely what that book is," Mattis said of the book, titled 'Fear.' "I never said those things of the President. Woodward got it 100% wrong. I said Trump had the understanding of a third or fourth grader."
At press time, Mattis again denied that he was leaving his post after being confronted with updates he made earlier this week to his LinkedIn profile.
Lieutenant Dan contributed reporting.