President Donald Trump, if he is on his way out of the White House, is doing some Spring cleaning in the fall and taking others with him.
If there is one thing that the president cannot stand it is people close to him that do not do as he wants them to.
And Secretary of Defense Mark Esper just found that out the hard way as President Trump ousted him and announced it in a tweet.
“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! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service,” he said.
…Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2020
But before he was terminated he was sent a classified memo on Afghanistan, The Washington Post reported.
In the run-up to the election, President Trump’s tweet saying that all U.S. troops in Afghanistan should be “home by Christmas!” raised alarm among senior U.S. officials who had been working on a more gradual withdrawal.
The existing plan, tied to precarious negotiations with the Taliban insurgent group to sign a peace deal with the Afghan government, had not yielded the progress that American officials wanted. While the Pentagon was on its way to reducing the number of troops to fewer than 5,000 this month, negotiations appeared to stall and the Taliban continued to launch attacks across the country.
After consulting with senior military officers, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper sent a classified memo to the White House this month expressing concerns about additional cuts, according to two senior U.S. officials familiar with the discussion. Conditions on the ground were not yet right, Esper wrote, citing the ongoing violence, possible dangers to the remaining troops in the event of a rapid pullout, potential damage to alliances and apprehension about undercutting the negotiations.
Since the firing of Esper the president has fired others that were hired under Esper and replaced them with those close to him, which could facilitate having the troops home by Christmas and sending the establishment Republicans and Democrats into a tizzy.
But this is not the first time Esper has butted heads with the president, either publicly or privately, and it is another reason he has been removed.
And weeks ago Esper was said to have already crafted his letter of resignation causing one prominent Democrat, Hillary Clinton’s former vice-presidential pick in 2016, Sen. Tim Kaine, to speak in favor of Esper.
“Secretary Esper is a person of sound character. President Trump has made it nearly impossible for respected public servants like Secretary [Jim] Mattis and Secretary Esper to lead the DOD,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said. “For the good of our country and the brave men and women in uniform, I hope he will continue to serve for the remainder of the Trump presidency.”
But Kaine is not involved in running the nation, thanks to the 2016 presidential election, and his opinion did not sway the president.