President Donald Trump's appointees from the U.S. military elite don't seem to march to his tune.
Or maybe he just falls out of step with them.
Either way, the latest departure, of retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Randolph "Tex" Alles as Secret Service director, fits Trump's pattern of uniform alienation.
Officials this week suspected Alles is leaving sooner than expected after the Secret Service, in a highly unusual statement, put the onus for a foreign visitor's security breach on private management at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.
The comparatively undisciplined president expressed problems with Alles' physical appearance, according to published reports.
Others in the brass have endured different problems.
Since-convicted retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn fell out as national-security director over lying about Russia campaign contacts. Friends of former White House chief of staff John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, list among his plaudits in a year-plus on the job keeping an impulsive Trump from quitting NATO and talking him out of withdrawing troops from South Korea.
As secretary of defense, retired Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis clashed with Trump over the Syria withdrawal, still incomplete. "You have the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours," he wrote Trump in his December resignation letter that advised the president to preserve relations with U.S. allies.
“Allies are very important — but not when they take advantage of US," Trump publicly chided Mattis, accelerating his departure and falsely implying he'd fired him.
Trump also dumped his second national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a Ph.D. in American history who was known to earnestly disagree with the preparation-challenged president on Iran, Korea and Russia strategy.
Trump's relationship with the armed forces might be one of the strangest for any president. He was sent to military school as a youth because of behavioral issues. His medical excuse from Vietnam-era service led one hater on Twitter to dub him "Cadet Bone Spurs." He mocked the late Sen. John McCain's capture in Vietnam.
He wanted a big military parade for some reason that the real-life commanders did not deem practical. In November 2015, he declared: "I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me," though he was not that widely believed.
And yet just hours after taking office in 2017, Trump trotted out his decorated appointees as if they were show horses.
“I see my generals, generals who are going to keep us so safe," Trump said. "They’re going to have a lot of problems, the other side.”
He described it as “central casting."
"If I’m doing a movie, I pick you, General Mattis, who’s doing really well.”