President Donald Trump has dismissed Defense Secretary Mark Esper, he announced the termination of the top US official in a tweet. Christopher Miller, the chief of National Counter-terrorism Center will replace him for the role. The sacking follows a public fall-out between Esper and Trump in recent weeks. The Republican is yet to conceded the election to his democratic rial Joe Biden and has planned to challenge the projected results with a barrage of lawsuits. Trump still has powers to make decisions before the President-elect Biden takes the charge of the White House on Jan 20, 2020.
Miller was seen entering the Department of Defense headquarters at the Pentagon on Monday shortly after Trump announced the sacking of Esper. The former Special Forces soldier served on National Security Council before getting the charge of Counter-terrorism Center in August.
In his resignation letter, Esper expressed his gratitude for the members of Armed forces and said he was proud of his achievements during his 18-month tenure in Pentagon.
“I serve my country in deference to the Constitution, so I accept your decision to replace me,” he wrote.
Top Democrat Nancy Pelosi criticized the decision. “The abrupt firing of Secretary Esper is disturbing evidence that President Trump is intent on using his final days in office to sow chaos in our American Democracy and around the world,” said the speaker of the House of Representatives.
Esper’s differences with Trump administration surfaced earlier this year during the protests sparked by the killing of African-American George Floyd who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May. Trump threatened to deploy US military to quash the civil unrest. Esper, a former army officer in June, argued the use of active military personnel was not necessary. The remarks were known to have annoyed the WH. Following the clash with his boss speculations were made about the dismissal of Defense secretary however, Trump on Monday gave no reason for the firing of his top official.
Esper have also had different thoughts on Trump’s dismissive attitude towards NATO. In an interview given to Military times, Esper, last week said despite disagreement with Trump administration he didn’t believe leaving was the right thing to do.
“The president’s going to — he’s very transparent in terms of what he wants. And he’s been very clear about his views … I’m not trying to make anybody happy,” he told the website.
“What I’m trying to do is, fulfil what he wants — I mean, he’s the duly elected commander in chief — and make the best out of it.”
He also rejected the claims that he was a “yes man” to the Republican. The paper notes that his critics on the Trump roster and Trump himself call Esper ‘Yesper” due to his conciliatory approach and obedient behavior with President.
“My frustration is I sit here and say, ‘Hmm, 18 Cabinet members. Who’s pushed back more than anybody?’ Name another Cabinet secretary that’s pushed back,” he said.
“Have you seen me on a stage saying, ‘Under the exceptional leadership of blah-blah-blah, we have blah-blah-blah-blah?'”‘
Trump holds a track-record of signing the dismissals of a number of officials and aides during his term, often using Twitter to announce their termination. Esper’s predecessor James Mattis also resigned form his post in 2018 over differences with the commander in chief on Syrian war. Mattis in June also took a dig at President and assailed him as the “first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us.”