In a move that is causing no little panic among the left, President Trump has “terminated” Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Esper has clashed with Trump’s leadership as recent as last year when refused (opposed) using federal troops to control the massive, planned riots by the left.
Esper will be replaced with Christopher Miller, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
Trump tweeted Monday “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.”
“Chris will do a GREAT job!” the president added in another tweet. “Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.”
Last week, the Pentagon pushed back against an NBC News report that Esper had “prepared a resignation letter” following the result of the presidential election.
In a report published Thursday afternoon, NBC cited three unnamed “current defense officials” who alleged that Esper “prepared his letter because he is one of the Cabinet officials long expected to be pushed out after the election.”
But Jonathan Hoffman, assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, tweeted, “The NBC story is inaccurate and misleading in many ways.”
“To be clear, Secretary of Defense Esper has no plans to resign, nor has he been asked to submit a letter of resignation,” Hoffman added.
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
It is the first time in the modern era that a president seeking reelection has removed his Pentagon chief after Election Day. Presidents who win reelection often replace Cabinet members, including the secretary of defense, but losing presidents have kept their Pentagon chiefs in place until Inauguration Day to preserve stability in the name of national security.
Esper’s strained relationship with Trump came close to collapse last summer during civil unrest that triggered a debate within the administration over the proper role of the military in combatting domestic unrest. Esper’s opposition to using active duty troops to help quell protests in Washington, D.C., infuriated Trump, and led to wide speculation that the defense chief was prepared to quit if faced with such an issue again.