Discord is fueling inside the White House over President Donald Trump’s response to the anti-racism solidarity protests triggered by the death of George Floyd. With Secretary of Defense Mark Esper disagreeing with Trump’s hardline step to mobilize active duty troops to quell the protests, the White House is hinting at the possibility of sacking him in turn. With the cacophony within the military growing louder, James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, has weighed in with publicly criticizing President Trump, a highly unusual move.
The White House seemed clearly displeased as Secretary Esper, who has been known for his loyalty to Mr. Trump, has expressed discontent with the president’s way of handling the protests. “As of right now, Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday when asked if Trump still has confidence in the defense secretary. “If (the president) loses confidence in Secretary Esper, I'm sure you all will be the first to know.” Her remarks were an insinuation that Esper could be made to step down from his position should he fail to follow the president’s line of orders.
NBC News reported that the White House considers Esper’s opposition to the use of military forces as “crossing the line.” CNN said that neither President Trump, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien or the members of the ruling Republican Party welcomed Esper’s remarks.
AP News and other news outlets reported that Secretary Esper reversed his order to send home about 200 soldiers with the 82nd Airborne’s immediate response force from Washington. Experts analyze that his decision was a response to Trump’s furious reaction.
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