Former Secretary of Defense General James Mattis was in Dallas Thursday for this year's annual meeting of the Dallas Citizens Council.
Mattis answered questions from the Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein, who asked Mattis if he had any regrets about becoming the Secretary of Defense.
Mattis resigned last December, after policy differences with the President. Mattis says he does not live a life of regrets.
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"I was brought up by the greatest generation, and I was brought up to believe that government service is an honor. It is a privilege, but it is a duty, and whether the President of the United States asks you and they are a Republican or a Democrat, it does not matter. As long as you are prepared to do it as long as you can do it, then the response is affirmative,” said Mattis.
The conversation was about 40 minutes, and Rubenstein asked what are the most important national security issues and challenges for the United States today.
"The primary threats to the country, to answer your question David, are clearly authoritarian regimes that are acting badly. And in terms of urgency it would be North Korea. In terms of power it would be Russia, and in terms of political will it would be China," he added.
The discussion touched on foreign policy, Mattis' military career and life. He also expressed concern about civility.
"I am very concerned these days about the contempt, the rancor that I see among some Americans. It is one thing to have a good strong argument, and elections are divisive. You know you are supposed to divide, I want you to vote for me, and David said no, vote for him, and we divide. But when the election is over, we got to come back together. And I am very worried about how we treat one another in this country," said Mattis.
Mattis said one thing he loves about Texas is that people here seem to get along better, and that there is a spirit in this state.