President Donald Trump has fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper after reports surfaced that the political appointee was covertly assisting Joe Biden’s transition team, despite votes still being counted and litigation underway in virtually every battleground state.
In his typical fashion, President Trump announced Esper’s departure as he heralded his replacement, Christopher C. Miller. “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 the Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately.”
President Trump then added, “Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service,” while also noting that he believes Miller “will do a GREAT job!”
…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
Late last week reports surfaced in Politico and other established political publications that Esper was considering tendering his resignation before January 21, 2021.
Rumors also surfaced that Esper was working with the Biden transition team, despite the Trump campaign and administration remaining firm in their insistence that the election is far from over and will be decided in the president’s favor after a series of recounts and court cases establish the severity of fraud in the elections.
“Hearing rumors around Pentagon that [Mark Esper] and @DepSecDef may not survive the day,” wrote Gavin Wax. “Without any authorization, they have been assisting the Biden translation [sic] team even as votes are still being counted.”
It is unclear what provoked Esper’s termination at the president’s hands, however, CNN is now admitting that the election has only been called by the U.S. media and not official sources, which would likely have created additional pressure for Esper to resign or be fired within the administration.