Reports: WH ‘Not Happy’ With Esper After Breaking With Trump

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, with US President Donald Trump, speaks on vaccine development on May 15, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL N... US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, with US President Donald Trump, speaks on vaccine development on May 15, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s remarks on Wednesday morning — which broke with President Trump’s demand to invoke the Insurrection Act amid mounting protests nationwide in the wake of George Floyd’s death — reportedly did not sit well with the White House.

Earlier Wednesday, Esper said that active duty forces should only be used in a law enforcement role as a “last resort” and that he does not support invoking the Insurrection Act — a stark contrast from Trump’s call for governors to “dominate” protesters by activating the National Guard to quell the violence that has emerged from recent protests.

According to a CNN report on Wednesday, Trump and other top officials are “not happy” with Esper following his remarks, citing three people familiar with the White House’s thinking.

One White House official told CNN that aides were not given a heads up about the content of Esper’s remarks. Additionally, an official close to Esper and familiar with the White House’s thinking told CNN that the defense secretary is being “skewered” by other White House officials in reaction to his remarks at odds with Trump’s demands.

“(I’m) not sure who thought that was a good idea,” another official told CNN.

Axios similarly reported that Esper is in “precarious standing” with the White House, according to multiple sources.

Citing multiple sources, CNN also reported that Trump has privately fumed over his frustrations with his defense secretary recently, which included a recent weekend at Camp David.

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Notable Replies

  1. Maybe this is his opportunity to exit this “Administration” with some kind of dignity.

    Good luck with that.

  2. All military personnel that Trump brought to DC are headed back to their barracks. DoD and the Joint Chiefs are officially out on Trump’s political gambit. Barr and Trump are on an island. That’s sort of a passive aggressive coup in that the military is openly and firmly declining to assist POTUS with the misuse of federal troops for political purposes. The other significant thing is that Esper has closed off a loophole that conservative justices have used to give a permission slip to Trump to do whatever he wants. Most of the time (e.g., Travel Ban case) there is presumed deference to the executive to determine the ‘reasonableness’ of an order. There is an assumption that the POTUS is doing everything based on an objective assessment of national interest. Esper said that there is no national emergency here requiring US troops. That puts Trump/Barr on weak legal grounds even with the Kavanaughs and Raos of the world.

  3. That would make him the first (snark intended)

  4. He’d be fired faster if he disagreed with trump on the “Original Recipe vs. Extra Crispy” debate.

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