President Donald Trump now has a team in place at the Pentagon that can execute his policy preferences without the pushback he was getting from establishment figures who did not agree with his agenda — particularly on the drawdown from Afghanistan.
Trump this week fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who had been on the chopping block since early June, when he publicly declared at a press conference that he opposed deploying active duty troops to quell riots that were happening around the country.
Trump had not asked troops to deploy, but had threatened to do so if governors did not do more to stop the violence and looting that had engulfed major American cities. Esper’s public opposition undermined Trump’s threat.
In addition, Esper claimed he was unaware he was engaging in what he called a “photo op” when he accompanied the president on a walk across Lafayette Square to St.