US President Donald Trump has sacked Defense Secretary Mark Esper following months of tensions between the two men.
Esper had been at odds with Trump on a number of issues, most importantly his insistence at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer that there were no legal grounds to deploy active-service troops on the streets of US cities.
He was also working with Congress on legislation to rename US army bases named after Confederate generals.
In the face of Trump’s widely reported fury of his intransigence, Esper stopped giving press briefings in the Pentagon in July. He is reported to have written his resignation letter before the election, and Trump may have moved abruptly to prevent his defence secretary from taking the initiative.
The post-election firing of Esper, was announced in a tweet on Monday evening November 9, and comes as Trump continues to refuse to concede the 2020 election to President-elect Joe Biden over yet to be proven allegations of mass voter fraud.
In the tweet announcing Esper’s sack, Trump stated that Christopher Miller, a senior-ranking counter-terrorism official, would take over the top Pentagon job on an acting basis.
“Chris will do a GREAT job!” Trump tweeted.
“Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.”