President Donald Trump’s first secretary of defense, who has become a prominent critic of the former president, is slated to speak at the University of Maine next month.
Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is headlining a talk on the Orono campus on April 4 and will be joined by Medal of Honor Recipient Kyle Carpenter and Bangor’s own William S. Cohen, who served as secretary of defense during the Clinton administration and a Maine senator.
The talk, which is the university’s 2022 Cohen lecture, is called “The Importance of American Leadership in a Dangerous World.”
Mattis, a highly regarded U.S. Marine Corps General, served as Trump’s defense secretary from the start of his administration. He resigned from the post in 2019, citing in his resignation letter an inability to continue carrying out Trump’s initiatives and policies.
In June 2020, Mattis released a statement condemning Trump’s response to protests across the county in response to the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer who was later found guilty on murder and manslaughter charges.
Mattis’ statement came after police forcefully cleared protestors from Washington, D.C.’s Lafayette Park. Trump then infamously posed for a photo with a Bible outside nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Carpenter, a former U.S. Marine, was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2014 by then-President Barack Obama. Carpenter used his body to shield his fellow Marines from a grenade blast during a skirmish in the village of Marjah in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province in 2010.
Cohen was born and raised in Bangor, and served as a city councilor before he was elected to Congress in 1972. A Republican, he served as secretary of defense under Democratic President Bill Clinton.
The talk will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, April 4 in the Hutchins Concert Hall in the Collins Center for the Arts.