Trump fires Mark Asper as Secretary of Defense

Trump fires Mark Asper as Secretary of Defense

WASHINGTON – President Trump on Monday fired Secretary of Defense Mark T. Asper, the latest in a series of “door-to-door scandals” involving top national security officials who fell on the wrong side of their boss.

Mr. Trump Announced this decision on Twitter, Writing in a surprise post that Mr. Asper was “eliminated.”

The president wrote that he was Christopher. Miller, whom he appointed acting secretary of defense as the “highly respected” director of the National Atrocities Center. Miller will be the fourth official to lead the Pentagon under Mr. Trump.

The president noted that Miller had already been approved by the Senate for his current position, perhaps as an argument that the shooting of a defense secretary should not be seen as a sign of disturbance at the highest levels of national security. Structure.

Mr. Asper’s departure means that Mr. Miller – if he does, would see the end of the Trump administration at the Pentagon. With more than two months left in Trump’s term, it could still be a crucial time, as Defense Department officials have personally expressed concern that the president may be in trouble with Iran or other opponents during his troubled days. Can launch operations against them, even if they can work in secret. Office

Friends and colleagues praised Mr. Miller’s Army Special Forces background and anti-terrorism credentials but were surprised that he had risen from a high position, even in a temporary capacity. And while he is not considered an ideologue, Mr. Miller is not tall enough to push back to the extreme positions that Mr. Trump could have advocated in his last weeks in office, the ally said.

Nicholas J., a former counterterrorism official of the Bush and Obama administrations. “Such a move would probably discourage senior Army officials,” Rassusen said in an email. “It’s not that Chris Miller is about someone personally, although it’s a very unconventional choice to make. But only because such a move contributes to instability and volatile decision making when you want to avoid sending this kind of message around the world. ”

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Miller is a former Army Green Beret who took part in the liberation of Kandahar at the beginning of the war in Afghanistan. He has previously served as a senior counterterrorism official in the National Security Council under the Trump White House. Since that job, he has briefly served in the Pentagon this year in a counterterrorism role.

He has been part of the Trump administration’s musical chairs at national security posts. It was only in August. Miller was named to replace Russia’s Trevor, the acting head of the anti-terrorism center.

Mr. Miller began his military career in 1983 as a recruited infantryman in the Army Reserve. He also served as a military police officer in the Columbia National Guard District. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1987 and became an Army Green Beret in 1993.

In addition to his deployment to Afghanistan, he served with the Fifth Special Forces Group in Iraq in 2003.

Announcing that he was dismissing his secretary of defense, Trump sought to retract some other official accounts, including the victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But Mr. Asper’s downfall was expected for months, after he took a rare step in June to publicly disagree with Mr. Trump, saying that active duty was needed to control protests in U.S. cities. Military forces should not be sent. The president, who had threatened to use the Incident Act to do just that, was angry, officials said.

A spokesman for Asper tried to recoup the losses at the time, telling the New York Times that Mr. Trump either did not want to use the Insolvency Act, or he could have said so earlier. “We are unable to see the disconnect,” said Jonathan R., a spokesman for Asper. Hoffman said.

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White House officials disagreed.

Asper 56, a former Secretary of the Army and a former Raytheon executive, became Secretary of Defense in July 2019 after Mr. Trump withdrew the nomination of Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Schnahan amid an FBI investigation into the allegations. Mr Shaheen’s ex-wife said he had been stabbed in the stomach. Mr Shanhan denied the allegations.

Mr Shanhan stood for Jim Mattis, who resigned as Secretary of Defense in 2018, citing his differences with the president.

Mr. Esper suffered during his tenure for drowning in Trump’s line. But the Pentagon was deeply concerned about the demand for an Invasion Act to send troops to active duty to fight opponents across the country. Under heavy public criticism, Mr. Asper eventually broke away from the presidency.

Mr. Trump has done Mr. Asper quoted Such as “Mr. Ironically, it was a public outcry by the Secretary of Defense during a private conference with the President in June in which he spoke out against the use of active-duty U.S. troops to stem the civil unrest that Mr. Trump initiated. . The remarks came after Asper was seen walking with Trump outside Lafayette Square outside the White House, where protesters were rioting, condemning former military and civil defense officials. Happened

By Midsummer, Mr. Asper was running a fine line to return to other controversial positions in the military taken by Mr. Trump.

The Pentagon once announced in July, without mentioning the word “confederation,” that it would ban the display of the federal flag at military installations around the world.

Defense Department officials said a careful wording was written in the memorial to prevent Trump from setting fire to another flag, Mr. Esper instructed that they list the types of flags that military installations use. – In barracks, cars and can be displayed. At the signal.

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The guidelines did not specifically state that the Confederate flag was banned, but did say that it did not fit into any of the approved categories – and that any such flag was prohibited.

In the aftermath of the June incidents, Mr. Asper tried to fly under the radar, ignoring the news media and keeping a low profile, to prevent him from entering electoral politics.

He often traveled in early summer, including overseas trips to North Africa, the Middle East and India.

But the secretary deliberately limited his public comments while on the road.

When he spoke in public, abroad, or in Washington, he often commented in advance on safe topics (criticism of China and Russia on a trip to Africa) or friendly places (a Q&A session on military readiness at Heritage). Foundation, where Mr. Asper served as its Chief of Staff).

Yet on the biggest issue of 2020 – the coronavirus epidemic – history can show that Mr. Asper has so far overtaken his boss, who flatly refused to wear the mask, and an outbreak in the White House. Had contracted with coronavirus during. Mr. Asper, on the other hand, strictly adheres to the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when wearing no masks, no one can maintain the recommended social distance.

In a Pentagon virtual talk-to-hall meeting, Mr. Asper responded to a sailor on board the ship, Gerald R. Ford, who complained that the ship’s maritime distances were hurting morale.

“It’s tasty – I understand,” said Mr. Asper. “But I think the Navy’s results, based on infection rates, show that they’re doing a great job. ”

Cory Weinberg

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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