In a desperate bid for attention, Donald Trump pulled the plug on Defense Secretary Mark Esper Monday morning via tweet.
...Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2020
Poor guy needed someone to say he's still a powerful man, even as his power wanes away and he faces numerous legal battles in states he can't avoid.
Esper and Trump have been at odds for awhile, and Esper was reported to have prepared a letter of resignation after the election, but Trump just wanted the petty joy of firing him because he could.
Interestingly, Esper's successor should not be Christopher Miller, according to several experts, but instead the Senate-confirmed Acting Deputy Defense Secretary.
There’s currently a Senate-confirmed Deputy Secretary of Defense — David Norquist. Under 10 U.S.C. § 132(b), *he* is supposed to become Acting Secretary in the event of a vacancy.
Unless Trump fired him, too. pic.twitter.com/sZNlwq0SGG
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) November 9, 2020
Esper broke with Trump in June when he refused to call out the military to quell protests and racial unrest. His willingness to rename military bases which were named after confederate generals was the last petty straw. And as Julia Ioffe notes, the bull in a china shop is thrashing about.
Esper has been fired. Trump was always a bull in a china shop, but now he’s a mortally wounded bull that has two months to break the little that’s left of the china. He will.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) November 9, 2020
To which Charlie Pierce notes, quite correctly:
He's also going to lay waste to the crematorium and the sex shop next door.
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) November 9, 2020
I'm sure there will be more of this. Trump, like other Republicans before him, will burn it all down before handing it off to the Democrat.