Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stabbed President Trump in back multiple times during last week’s intense assault on the White House, and according to reports, Esper was nearly fired for his insubordination.
As demonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd turned violent last week — especially at the White House — Trump threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 to call in federal troops to control the chaos.
Esper publically undercut Trump in a press conference soon after, saying that “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.”
Additionally, he stabbed Trump in the back over what the media characterized as a “photo op” in front of the vandalized St. John’s Episcopal Church last Monday, saying that he “did know that we were going to the church. I was not aware of a photo-op was happening.”
According to a Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday, Esper’s public break infuriated Trump, prompting Esper to even begin drawing up his resignation letter in preparation for the backlash from his comments.
An anonymous White House official told the Journal that “It was a bad day. The president was close to losing confidence in him. Ultimately, he decided to keep him in place.”
Administration officials said that Esper was on “thin ice” with Trump, but several advisers and Republican lawmakers intervened to convince the two to work their differences out. The Washington Examiner reported that “Esper and Trump came to terms after the two met for a previously scheduled White House meeting following Esper’s Wednesday news briefing.”
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