Mark Esper: US defence secretary prepares to resign amid Trump fallout: Report
US Defence Secretary Mark Esper is preparing to resign amid a fallout with President Donald Trump, according to reports in the US.
NBC News and other media outlets say Esper has already prepared a resignation letter given that he expects Trump would fire him after the US election.
It is not clear - and has not been officially confirmed - whether Esper's decision rests on Trump winning or losing the US election.
Esper and Trump have had a tempestuous relationship.
Esper openly opposed Trump’s consideration of using active-duty troops to quell June riots.
He’s also at odds with Trump on renaming military bases that honour Confederate leaders.
NBC News reported that Esper is helping members of Congress draft legislation that will strip names of Confederate leaders from military bases and plans to work with Congress to put language in the annual National Defense Authorization Act so the name changes will be written into law.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman downplayed the reporting, telling the outlet that “speculation about potential resignations of Cabinet officials is a well-worn, D.C.-insider, post-election parlour game.”
Trump has not disguised his displeasure with Esper in recent months.
“Mark ‘Yesper’? Did you call him ‘Yesper’?” Trump told a reporter at an August news conference when asked if he had confidence in Esper. “Some people call him ‘Yesper.'”
Trump said, “I consider firing everybody. At some point — at some point, that’s what happens.”
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