WASHINGTON (CBS NEWS) – Defense Secretary James Mattis will leave the Trump Administration at the end of February, he informed President Trump in a letter Thursday.

The defense secretary said he is stepping down because of the differences in viewpoints with Mr. Trump.

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“Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote.

Mr. Trump announced the news in a tweet and praised Mattis’ tenure as secretary.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis listens as U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions during a meeting with military leaders in the Cabinet Room on October 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)