President Donald Trump abruptly announced Monday that he had fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper. The president’s decision comes just days after losing his reelection bid.
Esper, who was one of Trump’s top Cabinet officials, drafted a resignation letter before the election knowing that he would likely be out after the contest was over on Nov. 3.
In a pair of tweets, Trump wrote that Esper had “been terminated” and that he would be replaced by National Counterterrorism Center Director Christopher Miller, who will lead the Pentagon in an acting capacity.
“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,” said Trump, firing Esper. “Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.’
Esper and Trump have previously clashed over the president’s use of active-duty troops to quash incidents of civil unrest.
Trump has spent the better part of the last week throwing the country into disarray, complaining on Twitter and golfing.
This is the first government action Trump has taken since the election ended.
…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