“Name another Cabinet Secretary who was kicked out… Did you see me on a stage saying, ‘Under the exceptional leadership of blah-blah-blah, we’ve got blah-blah-blah-blah? Mr. Esper said.
“At the end of the day it’s like I said – you have to pick your fights… I could fight for anything, and I could make it a big fight, and I could live with that – Why? Who will come behind me? It’s going to be a real “yes man”. And then God helps us.
The interview took place on November 4, before Mr. Esper’s replacement was known.
Mr Trump revealed Mr Esper’s firing in a tweet announcing an immediate replacement, National Counterterrorism Center Director Christopher C Miller.
“Chris will do a great job! Mark Esper was fired. I would like to thank him for his service, ”Mr. Trump said.
It comes after weeks of speculation that Mr. Esper was among several senior officials facing the ax, whether Mr. Trump won or lost the election, including FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel .
Mr Esper had previously prepared a resignation letter in anticipation of his departure after long disagreeing with Mr Trump on issues such as the use of the military to quell protests over the summer, according to NBC News.
The sacking comes as Mr. Trump continues to challenge the presidential election results, preparing to sue and take his election fraud allegations to the road with a campaign-style rally tour in key states where he will require recounts.
While the cracks in the relationship between the two have been discussed privately for some time, they became openly public after Mr Esper declined to back the president’s suggestion in June that they could invoke the law on the uprising of 1807 to deploy troops on active duty in response to riots across the country. country.
“I say this not only as Secretary of Defense, but also as a former soldier and former member of the National Guard, the possibility of using active forces in a law enforcement role should not be. used only as a last resort, and only in the most urgent and difficult situations. We’re not in one of those situations right now, ”Mr. Esper said at the time.
In response, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said only the president has the power to determine whether the insurgency law will be invoked.
“Right now Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper, and if the President loses faith, we will all learn in the future,” Ms. McEnany said at the time.
Mr Esper became Secretary of Defense in July 2019 after Acting Secretary Pat Shanahan withdrew from the exam. Trump’s First Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned in 2018 due to the withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
At a press conference in August, Mr. Trump called him Mark “Yesper”, hinting at a possible dismissal.
“Mark Yesper? Did you call him Yesper? Trump said. “I am considering firing everyone. At some point, that’s what happens. “