Thomas Friedman calls on Defense Secretary Mattis to stand up to President Trump

Thomas Friedman on Trump

Thomas L. Friedman is calling on Defense Secretary James Mattis to stand up to President Trump. The author and New York Times columnist told "CBS This Morning" on Wednesday Mattis is the "one general left standing" in the White House.

Friedman -- whose book "Thank You For Being Late," about the forces of technology, globalization and climate change is out in paperback Wednesday -- issued an urgent plea to Mattis in his New York Times column. He wrote, "You need to lead McMaster, Tillerson and Kelly (Pompeo is a lost cause) in telling Trump that if he does not change his ways you will all quit, en masse."

"In the last few weeks we've seen Senator Corker come out and give us a diagnosis: this president is disturbed, the White House is an adult day care center. Yesterday, we saw Senator Flake do the same thing. Everyone is giving us diagnoses, but there's actually no action around it," Friedman said on "CBS This Morning."

On Tuesday, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona abruptly announced that he won't seek re-election in 2018 and delivered a sharp rebuke of President Trump on the Senate floor. Flake urged his colleagues to "stand up" and be "more forceful" in light of the president's recent behavior and inflammatory rhetoric.

Friedman said that while he thinks impeachment is unlikely, someone who still has credibility inside the White House could have an impact on the situation.

"I'm sure that they are as frightened by the things they're seeing, especially with these big geopolitical buildups now like North Korea ... they have to be frightened themselves."

Friedman likened President Trump's ideas to those that led to Brexit, the United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union.

"Brexit's what happens when you follow the advice of someone who has no second paragraph," he said. "It turned out they had no clue what to do the morning after."

"When you follow people with no second paragraph, Brexit it is what you get. 'Cause there are a lot of Brits saying 'what do we do now,' starting with the prime minister. I think you have the danger of the same thing here."