President Trump fires Secretary of Defense Mark Esper
President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday to announce the termination of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and inform the public that Christopher Miller, who serves as director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will become acting secretary "effective immediately."
I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2020
The President fired Esper nearly 48 hours after his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, was announced as the projected winner of the 2020 Presidential Election, a conclusion which Mr. Trump has said he will take legal action to contest.
Esper was, according to CNN, prepared to be removed from his position, his feelings made apparent by his decision to pen a letter of resignation weeks ago.
Apparently, Esper's letter was an attempt at a graceful exit should the President decide to fire him, several defense sources, including one senior defense official, told reporters.
Esper had been on shaky ground with the Trump Administration for months, a fracture that deepened after he said in June that he did not support using active-duty troops to quell the large-scale protests across the United States triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.
Esper also said military forces should be used in a law enforcement role only as a last resort.
His remarks from the Pentagon briefing room were seen by many as an attempt to distance himself from the President's threats to deploy the military to enforce order on American city streets and went over poorly at the White House, multiple people familiar with the matter said, CNN reports.
According to multiple administration officials, White House sentiment about Esper had been souring for some time, with both Mr. Trump and national security adviser Robert O'Brien viewing him as disloyal to the Trump Administration's vision for the military.
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