The former Defence Secretary Gen. James Mattis took aim at his former employer Donald Trump at the Alfred E. Smith dinner in New York City on Thursday night.
Mattis was introduced by comedy legend Martin Short with the words:
According to the president he’s the "most overrated general". I think he’s an American hero.
Taking to the stage, Mattis said:
I'm not just an overrated general. I’m the world’s greatest overrated general. I'm honoured to be called that by Donald Trump, because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actor. So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals.
The key joke, however, was the kind of caustic jibe Joan Rivers would have been proud of with Mattis explaining:
I earned my spurs on the battlefield; Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor.
It wasn't the only zinger delivered by Mattis at the expense of the president. He also referenced Trump's now notorious love of fast food:
The retired four-star General also joked that combat zones overseas were easier than life in Washington during the Trump administration:
I tried to bring some peace and order to the places with no organised government, chaotic and warring factions, irrational fears, and toxic hatred. It was hard work, but it wasn’t until I started working in Washington, D.C., that I realised how easy I had it overseas in the combat zone.
Mattis also took no prisoners when it came to the delicate matter of the President’s leisure time:
It’s been a year since I’ve left the administration, the recovery process is going well. The counsellor says I’ll graduate soon. A year according to White House time is about 9,000 hours of executive time or 1,800 holes of golf.
The erstwhile Defence Secretary has previously remained tightlipped on his opinions on Trump but it seems like the floodgates may be about to open having recently said to The Atlantic: “There is a period in which I owe my silence. It’s not eternal. It’s not going to be forever.”