US President Donald Trump last week was one step away from firing Pentagon chief Mark Esper. The reason for the anger of the American leader was Esper’s reluctance to use military force to suppress protests, writes The Wall Street Journal.
It is noted that at a meeting with the president, the head of the Pentagon said that troops should be involved only as a last resort in the most difficult situations. “Now we are not in that position,” Esper argued. According to the publication, the frenzied Trump consulted with several advisers to decide on the dismissal of the head of the Pentagon, but they managed to dissuade the head of state.
Esper is known to have been aware of Trump’s anger and was preparing to resign. However, a few days after the meeting, White House spokeswoman Kaley Makinani stated that Esper played an important role in ensuring security during the protests and Trump is still confident in it.
Earlier it was reported that the position expressed by Esper on the use of military force to suppress protests was the reason for Trump’s resentment. It was alleged that the American leader had not respected the head of the Pentagon before, and after his public statements, Esper was predicted to worsen the situation.
In early June, Trump called for troops to be sent in several cities, which were massively protested by the death of a black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis – he died after a gross arrest. Esper publicly opposed such a position, after which Trump said that he changed his mind to attract the army.
The President of the United States, under the Uprising Act of 1807, has the right to call on military police to quell a rebellion or enforce laws. The law was applied in 1967 by 36th President Lyndon Johnson during the riots in Detroit and in 1992 by 41st US President George W. Bush to suppress riots in Los Angeles.
Donald Trump said Secretary of Defense James Mattis will leave office in late February. The head of the Pentagon himself wished the US president to find a candidate who would have similar views.
Trump announced the change of head of the Pentagon on his Twitter. “General Jim Mattis is resigning after spending two years as Secretary of Defense,” the president said. The head of state thanked Mattis for his contribution to the development of new weapons and the fulfillment of allied obligations in relation to other countries. Trump promised that he would name Mattis’s successor soon.
According to Reuters, Mattis himself wrote a letter of resignation to the president. In his letter, he expressed the hope that the president would appoint the head of the Pentagon to a person with whom he would have more similar views. At the same time, the Minister wished Trump that in the future the United States should take a clear position with regard to Russia and China.
The agency indicates that rumors about Mattis’s resignation have been in Washington since October, when Trump called the Pentagon’s head “like a Democrat” in an interview with CBS.
Disagreements between the president and the minister were also connected with Syria. Trump announced on the eve of the withdrawal of the American contingent from this country, while Mattis in recent months insisted that the United States should continue to fulfill its tasks to assist the Kurdish allied forces.
In the two years of his presidency, Trump fired more ministers than any of his five predecessors. One of the most notorious was the resignation of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to whom the president announced his decision via Twitter. One of the reasons for this was the disagreement between the two politicians over the dialogue with the DPRK.