Trump fires Defense Secretary Esper

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that he had fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, signaling that he may use his final months in office to settle scores within his administration.

The news came, of course, on Twitter, with Trump bluntly tweeting, "Mark Esper has been terminated."

Trump, who publicly split with Esper in recent months over a range of issues, said on Twitter that Christopher Miller, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will become acting secretary of defense. The Senate would be highly unlikely to confirm any new nominee before Trump leaves office in January.

The Pentagon had no immediate comment.

Esper had long been preparing for the prospect of his resignation or dismissal following the Nov. 3 election, particularly if Trump were to win a second term in office, sources told Reuters.

Esper angered Trump by opposing the president's threat to use active duty troops to suppress street protests over racial injustice in the United States during the summer.

ESPER: "The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act."

Sources said Esper also disagreed with Trump's dismissive attitude toward the NATO alliance.

This dramatic move comes as Trump continues to refuse to accept his defeat in the November 3rd election.

Video Transcript

- US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he had fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, signaling that he may use his final months in office to settle scores within his administration. The news came, of course, on Twitter, with Trump bluntly tweeting, quote, "Mark Esper has been terminated." Trump, who publicly split with Esper in recent months over a range of issues, said on Twitter that Christopher Miller, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will become acting secretary of defense.

The Senate would be highly unlikely to confirm any new nominee before Trump leaves office in January. The Pentagon had no immediate comment. Esper had long been preparing for the prospect of his resignation or dismissal following the November 3 election, sources told Reuters, particularly if Trump were to win a second term in office. Esper angered Trump by opposing the president's threat to use active duty troops to suppress street protests over racial injustice in the US during the summer.

MARK ESPER: The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.

- Sources said Esper also disagreed with Trump's dismissive attitude towards NATO. The dramatic move comes as Trump continues to refuse to accept his defeat in the November 3 election.