Trump's Pentagon purge is reportedly an attempt to get troops out of the Middle East before he leaves office

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Kathryn Krawczyk
·2 min read
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President Trump is reportedly scrambling to fulfill a campaign promise at the last possible second.

Trump campaigned in 2016 on the assurance he'd bring U.S. troops in the Middle East back home. That still hasn't happened, but some new hires in the Pentagon are aimed at getting that task done before Trump leaves office, Axios reports.

Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other top Pentagon officials on Monday after months of tension. Esper said he didn't want to be the "yes man" Trump was looking for, and a senior administration official told Axios that firing Esper and others was "part a settling of Trump's personal scores."

Trump then named Christopher C. Miller, the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, as the acting secretary of defense. Miller quickly brought in retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor as a senior adviser; Macgregor has vocally backed Trump and said he wants the president to get troops out of Afghanistan "as soon as possible." He has also advocated for giving military control of the Korean peninsula fully to South Korea. It's all a signal White House officials "want [the Pentagon] more publicly to talk about getting out of Afghanistan by the end of the year," a senior administration official tells Axios.

The Pentagon confirmed to Axios that Macgregor had been hired. Macgregor was reportedly passed over for a Pentagon job earlier this year because Esper had concerns about him, Axios notes. Macgregor has pushed to use violent martial law to control immigration at the southern border, and said the EU and Germany are too open to "Muslim invaders." Read more at Axios.

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