What a Deal: Esper Doesn’t Resign and Trump Doesn’t Fire Him

Mark Esper, front right, taking part in the walk of shame to the St. John's church photo-op last week.Shawn Thew/CNP via ZUMA

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President Trump sure has problems with his top military people:

The president consulted several advisers to ask their opinion of the disagreement, intent that day on removing Mr. Esper, his fourth defense secretary since taking office in January 2017, according to the officials. After talks with the advisers, who cautioned against the move, Mr. Trump set aside the plans to immediately fire Mr. Esper.

At the same time, however, Mr. Esper, aware of Mr. Trump’s feelings, was making his own preparations to resign, partly in frustration over the differences regarding the role of the military, the officials said. He had begun to prepare a letter of resignation before he was persuaded not to do so by aides and other advisers, according to some of the officials.

So White House “advisers” talked Trump out of firing Esper and Defense Department advisers talked Esper out of resigning. Sounds like a great relationship. If Esper had left, Trump would right now be working on a nomination for his fourth secretary of defense in four years (fifth if you count Richard Spencer’s 8-day fill-in).

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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