Outgoing defense secretary urges employees to stay focused

WASHINGTON (AP) — Outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is quoting President Abraham Lincoln in a farewell message to defense employees, urging them to stay focused on their mission.

Mattis quoted from a letter Lincoln wrote in 1865 to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. It said: “Let nothing which is transpiring, change, hinder, or delay your military movements, or plans.”

It seemed a veiled reference to the White House’s national security policy.

Mattis, who resigned over Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, said he’s confident Defense Department employees will remain “undistracted from our sworn mission to support and defend the Constitution while protecting our way of life.”

In his message released Monday, his last day on the job, Mattis urged employees to “keep the faith” in America and work alongside U.S. allies against adversaries.

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