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Trump says he has fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said Defense Secretary Mark Esper had been “terminated” and that Christopher Miller, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will be acting Secretary of Defense starting immediately.

“Mark Esper has been terminated,” Trump said on Twitter. “I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately.”

The Pentagon had no immediate comment.

Esper had long been preparing for the prospect of his resignation or dismissal following the Nov. 3 election, particularly if Trump were to win a second term in office, sources said.

Trump has steadfastly refused to acknowledge his election loss.

Esper angered Trump particularly by opposing Trump’s threat to use active duty troops to suppress street protests over racial injustice in the United States during the summer.

Esper also disagreed with Trump’s dismissive attitude toward the NATO alliance, sources said.

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