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Donald Trump announces 'termination' of defence secretary Mark Esper

It was reported that Esper had prepared a resignation letter last week.

Donald Trump and Mark Esper
Donald Trump and Mark Esper
Image: Kevin Dietsch/PA

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has sacked defence secretary Mark Esper, just over two months before he is expected to leave the White House.

It was reported that Esper had prepared a resignation letter last week, before last Tuesday’s election which saw Joe Biden defeat Trump.

CNN reported that Esper was expecting to resign regardless of the election outcome, claiming that his relationship with Trump had significantly deteriorated.

In a tweet this evening, Trump said that Esper had been “terminated” although he thanked him for his service.

The US president also said that Christopher C. Miller has been appointed as acting defence secretary in Esper’s place.

NBC first reported last week that Esper had prepared a letter of resignation, citing three officials.

The network pointed out that it was not uncommon for secretaries to prepare letters of resignation ahead of a presidential transition, but added that Esper’s letter was drafted as he was expected to be fired after the election even in the event of a Trump victory.

The former defence secretary reportedly helped members of Congress to draft legislation that would remove the names of Confederate leaders from military bases in the US – an issue that came to light again during this year’s Black Lives Matter protests.

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Over the summer, Esper also courted controversy when he told reporters that he had no knowledge of plans to clear an area outside the White House of Black Lives Matter protesters.

His comments came after federal police opened tear gas and fired rubber bullets to break up a non-violent protest, clearing a path for Trump to stage a photo-op at a historic church, which drew criticism from demonstrators.

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