What a Deal: Esper Doesn’t Resign and Trump Doesn’t Fire Him

Mark Esper, front right, taking part in the walk of shame to the St. John's church photo-op last week.Shawn Thew/CNP via ZUMA

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President Trump sure has problems with his top military people:

The president consulted several advisers to ask their opinion of the disagreement, intent that day on removing Mr. Esper, his fourth defense secretary since taking office in January 2017, according to the officials. After talks with the advisers, who cautioned against the move, Mr. Trump set aside the plans to immediately fire Mr. Esper.

At the same time, however, Mr. Esper, aware of Mr. Trump’s feelings, was making his own preparations to resign, partly in frustration over the differences regarding the role of the military, the officials said. He had begun to prepare a letter of resignation before he was persuaded not to do so by aides and other advisers, according to some of the officials.

So White House “advisers” talked Trump out of firing Esper and Defense Department advisers talked Esper out of resigning. Sounds like a great relationship. If Esper had left, Trump would right now be working on a nomination for his fourth secretary of defense in four years (fifth if you count Richard Spencer’s 8-day fill-in).

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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