Secretary of Defense James Mattis told a group of young troops to “just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other.”
“You’re a great example for our country right now and it’s got problems,” Mattis says in the video. “You know it and I know it. It’s got problems we don’t have in the military. And you just hold the line, my fine soldiers, and sailors and airmen and Marines.”
Mattis’ remarks, which were made in Jordan, were posted in the wake of a tumultuous week in the United States following the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and fallout from President Donald Trump’s response. It’s unclear when exactly Mattis made the comments, though Mattis traveled to Turkey, Ukraine and Jordan last week, NY Mag reports.
In the video, Mattis begins by introducing himself to a small group. “To those of you I don’t know, I’m Mattis. And I work in the Department of Defense,” he says. Troops who spotted Mattis gathered around to hear the unscripted motivational speech.
“Believe me, I know you’re far from home, every one of you. I know you all should be going to college, you young people or you could be back on the block. I’m grateful. And the only way this great big experiment you and I call America is gonna survive is we got tough hombres like you,” says Mattis.
He notes that many in the group surrounding him were too young to remember 9/11, but explains that the enemy then “thought if he could hurt us, he could scare us.”
He continues, “But we don’t frickin’ scare and that’s the bottom line, and we’ll go out there and fight alongside our friends and allies, and we’re going to keep on fighting until they’re sick of us and leave us alone.”
He ends the speech by asking the troops to take care of each other. “You get cold, you get hot, you get sloppy, you get complacent, don’t let it happen,” he says.