Angry baby strikes again, ignoring the rules to exact revenge on those who did their duty. Mark Esper will probably not be the last firing, but for today this will divert attention from Trump signaling that he will run again in 2024 to continue the grift. Not unlike other cabinet replacements (Acting AG big-boy pants), Trump ignores the actual WH personnel rules of succession. What might he do before leaving office, incite military action near to the Georgia special election, or something, something.
So does this mean Trump is confused about the proper line of succession? Or did he do the military equivalent of doctor-shopping for an official who'd execute some legally questionable order he wants done? https://t.co/TDpWETRVvc
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) November 9, 2020
Esper, President Donald Trump’s fourth Pentagon chief and second Senate-confirmed defense secretary, wasfired on Monday, capping a year-plus tenure notable both for its lack of achievement and its willingness to appease the White House at the expense of the military.
The final straw, which took months to break the camel’s back, was Esper’s belated public rejection in June of the active-duty military to put down nationwide protests against institutional police racism. Just days earlier, he had supported Trump by saying the military stood ready to “dominate the battlespace,” a comment that drew rebukes from national-security luminaries, including one of his predecessors, for its blithe portrayal of American cities as legitimate battlefields for the military.
It was unclear why David Norquist, the deputy secretary of defense, was not acting secretary, as the law unambiguously mandates. Pentagon officials did not immediately return a request for comment.
Finally, as @jgeltzer points out, Miller isn't eligible to be *Secretary* of Defense because he hasn't been retired from the military for seven years.
He can still be "Acting" if otherwise permissible, but yet another reason why this is messed up..https://t.co/kVo0eYr8nP
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) November 9, 2020
On June 1, on a conference call with governors, Trump urged a violent crackdown on Black Lives Matter protesters. Joining the call was Esper, who advised them to “mass and dominate the battlespace” to bring back a sense of “normal.” While Esper and the Pentagon would later downplay his choice of words as an innocent use of military jargon, it horrified military observers with the implication that American citizens were to be treated as enemies. “Not what America needs to hear… ever,” tweeted Tony Thomas, the former chief of U.S. Special Operations Command and the Joint Special Operations Command. Mattis broke his deafening silence on Trump to write: “We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battlespace’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate.’”
By the afternoon, with Esper at the White House, Trump announced his willingness to invoke the 19th century Insurrection Act to command the U.S. military to, as Esper put it, “dominate the battlespace” while police outside proceeded to do just that steps from the White House gates. In a horrifying scene, Park Police, backed by National Guardsmen, used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a peaceful protest, all so Trump could wave a Bible for the cameras in front of St. John’s Church.
As Trump walked to the church through the now-cleared park, Esper trailed behind him. He later told reporters he had no idea what the president had in store.
After a frightening night in D.C., where a National Guard medevac helicopter flew low to “rotor-wash” protesters with noise and dust – another wartime tactic—the Pentagon seemed to know it had neared a Rubicon and attempted pulling back. Officials began saying that they opposed involving the active-duty forces Trump had threatened, even as an infantry battalion arrived outside the city limits on heightened alert. A senior Obama-era Pentagon official quit the Defense Policy Board and charged Esper, a West Pointer, with forsaking his oath to the Constitution in favor of loyalty to Trump.
The following morning, Esper went before the cameras to say he opposed invoking the Insurrection Act. He did not apologize for using the term “battlespace,” but said “in retrospect” he ought to have used different wording. More than a week after Chauvin slayed Floyd, Esper denounced the killing and endorsed confronting racism. Jarringly, he urged the military to remain “apolitical.” Reporters pressed him to reconcile that invocation with his own behavior. Esper offered that while he attempted to comport himself apolitically, “sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not.”
In June, Esper had publicly disagreed with Trump, saying that active-duty military troops should not be sent to control the protests in American cities.
Trump, who had threatened to use the Insurrection Act to do exactly that, was furious, officials said. https://t.co/8qowceDjBK
— Vicky Ward (@VickyPJWard) November 9, 2020
In fairness, Tom Cotton actually called for using the military to summarily execute people in the streets. https://t.co/NqqrmmIjii
— Josh Dorner (@JoshDorner) November 9, 2020
He's going to agree to call in military troops — belatedly — to attack peaceful dissent in Lafayette Square. They just have to run the demonstration as a do-over to satisfy the president. https://t.co/K5QyoIpLcP
— David Simon (@AoDespair) November 9, 2020
A senior administration official tells CNN that Defense Secretary Mark Esper, whom President Trump just fired via tweet, is worried that the president will next fire FBI director Christopher Wray and CIA director Gina Haspell.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 9, 2020
BREAKING: Donald Trump accuses military voters of criminal voter fraud for legally voting in their state of permanent residence. https://t.co/KPvYlsyJo1
— VoteVets (@votevets) November 9, 2020
Continue watching live as Kurt Campbell, @carriecordero, @LorenRaeDeJ, and @karaafrederick join @RHFontaine for a conversation about the next four years of U.S. foreign policy and national security: https://t.co/5exDzmcqr2
— CNAS (@CNASdc) November 9, 2020
Former congresswoman Michele Bachmann calls on God to "smash the delusion, Father, that Joe Biden is our president. He is not." pic.twitter.com/gqoFP97ipT
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) November 9, 2020
Donald Trump discussing a 2024 run is noteworthy not just because he may be formidable in a GOP primary but also since filing with the FEC would let his campaign raise more money from donors—even if they maxed out in 2020—then spend on Trump properties, rallies, MAGA hats, etc… https://t.co/6N9FKJgc5t
— Anna Massoglia (@annalecta) November 9, 2020
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) November 9, 2020
.@parler_app is experiencing exponential growth in the wake of Trump's defeat.
Two days ago, I exposed a Parler user who told his followers that "It's time to start killing the news media live on air."
— AntiFash Gordon (@AntiFashGordon) November 9, 2020
White male voters may have been able to rescue a Republican presidential candidate in 2016. But Republicans should be searching for another formula to sustain themselves in a racially diverse country; instead, they are accelerating their own demise.https://t.co/2prxmDRhfu
— Jennifer 'pro-voting' Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) November 9, 2020