In an excerpt released from Trump's 60 Minutes interview, Leslie Stahl asked him about the long running reports that the White House is in chaos. "He may leave, I mean at some point, everybody leaves". "People leave. That's Washington".
"He may leave", President Trump concluded.
"I have some people that I'm not thrilled with", Trump said. "But General Mattis is a good guy". "We're going to do whatever we can do to get it slowed down".
Last month, Mattis dismissed news reports that tensions with Trump could soon point to his exit. The pre-taped interview is set to air Sunday evening and touched on a wide-range of issues, including the recent disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
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"I'm changing things around". I have people now on standby that will be phenomenal.
The President also said that "Yeah, other people will go, sure". They'll come into the administration.
Mattis has been careful to avoid public conflict with Trump, but has nonetheless performed in ways that contrast sharply with his boss, emphatically defending the United States commitment to its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and calling out Russian Federation.
Mattis, seen as one of the steadiest but also more independent members of Trump's cabinet, has served as a low-profile counterweight to the president in his often abrasive treatment of U.S. allies.
Mattis has a dim view of journalism about inside-the-beltway politics in Washington, using the word "fiction" to describe Woodward's book and similar reporting about closed-door conversations among US national security leaders.
"I have a very good relationship with [Mattis]", Trump said.