Mark Esper became the Secretary of Defense in July 2019 when James Mattis resigned after disagreements with President Trump could not be resolved. 

“You have the right to a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours…I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote in his resignation letter to Trump.  

Throughout his short tenure, Esper and Trump have had many disagreements regarding policy changes.

In June, Esper addressed social justice protesters and said he would be open to discussing changing the names of 10 military forts that were named after Confederate Generals from the Civil War. 

Esper’s willingness to discuss the military ports was quickly denied by President Trump in a tweet.

“These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom. The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations,” the tweet read.

Trump compared Confederate flags to the Black Lives Matter movement, calling them both a form of freedom of speech. 

In the wake of the riots and protests this year, Esper held a briefing in which he openly stated that he does not agree with the president and the conjure of the Insurrection Act, which permitted active military to be deployed to states to assist in enforcing laws.  

On Nov. 9, Trump tweeted that due to Esper’s termination Christopher C. Miller would be taking over as Secretary of Defense. 

In an exclusive interview that took place on Nov. 4 with, Esper foreshadowed his termination. 

The now-former Secretary of Defense said that he has no regrets about how he handled himself.

Written ByKarissa Leuschen

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