"It could be that he is".
Trump added that he and Mattis "get along very well". He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves.
Asked last month about reports he may be leaving, Mr Mattis said, "I wouldn't take it seriously at all.". "But I will tell you, I have no intention of doing that". I- I- I like- I get along with him, okay?
The U.S. leader described the retired Marine Corps general as "a good guy. Everybody. People leave", the President said. "They'll come into the administration, they'll be phenomenal", Mr Trump said. "And I have other people that I'm beyond thrilled with", he said.
"So when I won the presidency - the press treats me terribly - I thought very strongly that, you know, the one great thing will happen is the press will start treating me great".
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"Well, I don't know", the president replied.
"It could be that he is", planning to depart, Mr Trump told the 60 Minutes program on the U.S. network CBS, according to an excerpt of a transcript released ahead of the show's broadcast.
Mattis also dismissed the President's remark suggesting he had affiliation with the Democratic Party.
Asked directly whether he is a Democrat, Mattis said, "We're all built on our formative experiences".
Mattis's fate has been the subject of intense speculation for months.
It also reflects a White House headed by a president who is increasingly frustrated with his team, and more willing to follow his own counsel in matters of domestic and foreign policy.
Trump reportedly has become irritated with Mattis' reputation of being the "adult in the room", and is looking to make a number of changes to his Cabinet after the midterms, including naming a new attorney general after a long public feud with Sessions. I don't think it's a hoax.... But even for Trump critics (count me in), a larger revelation overwhelms them, at least in terms of tone and comportment: Trump was appealing in the way he handled himself.