U.S. President Trump announced on social media on November 9 that he would remove the Secretary of Defense Mark Esper from his post and that Christopher Miller, director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, would become the acting secretary of defense. In this regard, US media believe that Esper’s dismissal may be the first in a series of high-level recalls after the presidential election, and officials will be dismissed.
Insider: Trump and Esper have been at odds for a long time
CNN quoted a source on the 9th as saying that just before Trump announced the dismissal of Esper on social media, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows informed Esper of the news by phone. . Esper responded to Trump in a letter saying that he accepted Trump’s decision to fire him.
CNN reported that Esper’s relationship with the White House has been unstable for several months. Since 2019, he has opposed Trump on a number of key issues, which is an important background for his dismissal by the president.
In June of this year, the death of George Freud, an African-American man, triggered anti-racist protests that swept across the United States. Trump claimed to use active-duty troops to suppress protesters, but Esper said at a press conference of the Department of Defense that he does not support the use of active-duty troops to quell protests. The move angered Trump and deepened the rift between the two sides.
According to the “Washington Post” report, Trump often mentioned the dismissal of Esper during the presidential election, thinking that Esper was trying to embarrass him and undermine his re-election prospects. In recent months, Esper has rarely seen Trump.
Several sources said that as Esper’s relationship with Trump has become increasingly tense, Esper prepared a letter of resignation a few weeks ago in an attempt to “retire gracefully” before being fired by the president.
Esper became the US Secretary of Defense in July 2019. In December 2018, then US Secretary of Defense Mattis resigned as Trump was preparing to withdraw troops from Syria. From January to June 2019, Patrick Shanahan, then US Deputy Secretary of Defense, served as acting Secretary of Defense.
Miller, who is about to serve as acting secretary of defense, has served as an Army Special Forces officer and a Pentagon official, and has served as the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center since August this year. From 2018 to 2019, Miller served as special assistant to the president and counter-terrorism advisor to the National Security Council. CNN said that if the secretary of defense leaves, the deputy secretary of defense usually takes over the acting role. Trump’s appointment of Miller bypassed the second figure in the Department of Defense, Deputy Secretary Norquist.
The dismissal of Esper indicates that “Pandora’s box has been opened”
Esper’s dismissal has aroused concerns in American politics. Some officials believe that other senior national security officials who have angered Trump may become the president’s next target, and the US government may usher in a wave of “dismissal.” CNN commented on this that the significance of Esper’s dismissal is worth paying attention to, just like “Pandora’s box has been opened.”