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Mattis didn't disclose ties to China-boosting firm in column slamming Trump's 'America First' policy

Mattis denounced Trump's foreign policy in a column written with three coauthors.

Published: November 26, 2020 4:20pm

Updated: November 27, 2020 8:30am

In an online column denouncing President Trump's "America First" policy that includes measures regarding Beijing, ex-Defense Secretary James Mattis did not disclose his affiliation with an organization that fosters international business deals with communist China.

As coauthor with three other writers in a Nov. 23 Foreign Affairs column, Mattis did not mention that he works for the The Cohen Group consulting firm. Nor did he challenge China's tough talk against U.S. policies regarding Taiwan, nor the strict economic retaliation Beijing levied against Australia.

Instead, Mattis criticized Trump administration policies toward Beijing. Such policies, touted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are not in line with The Cohen Group's approach toward international business dealings with Beijing.

"China is a market of enormous opportunity and complexity," the group states on its website, adding that the group's China Practice "has a solid record of success with professionals in offices in Beijing, Tianjin and Washington, DC."

The Cohen Group is run by another former Defense Secretary. William Cohen, who has been involved with China since 1978, when he went there to meet with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, according to the organization.

"Since then, he has been a constant presence in the U.S.-China relationship, including commercial development and security cooperation," the organization states, noting that Cohen serves on the Board of Directors of the U.S.-China Business Council. 

Mattis joined The Cohen Group in 2019 as a senior counselor.

Mattis was among a group of retired four-star officers who drew criticism earlier this year for denigrating Trump in a series of articles, tweets, and other commentary.

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