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When President Trump issues an election-time order to send up to 15,000 troops to confront what many experts say is a nonexistent threat on the U.S.-Mexico border, what should Defense Secretary Jim Mattis do about it?Mattis' answer, so far, has been to support the president and mostly keep his mouth shut. Unfortunately, some of Mattis' colleagues fear he's doing just that, in implicitly backing Trump's incendiary talk of an immigrant "invasion" that requires sending active-duty troops.Watching Mattis walk the Trump tightrope is agonizing. It was "an unfortunate use of Marines," remembers Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold, a retired Marine who's a longtime friend of Mattis.Newbold says he's confident that Mattis will steer the current deployment to make sure that forces aren't in direct confrontation. Mattis was already facing a Trump-quake before the order to deploy troops.Mattis scrambled to affirm his loyalty.
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