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Trump replaces Esper as Defense secretary

The president appointed Christopher Miller as acting secretary

Updated: November 9, 2020 - 2:57pm

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President Trump on Monday replaced Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper with Christopher C. Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center. 

Trump made the announcement on Twitter and said Miller will serve as acting Defense Secretary "effective immediately."

Despite news reports and speculation that Esper would resign or be fired soon, the move came unexpectedly to Pentagon insiders.

"When I left the building at lunch, Esper was secretary," one Pentagon employee told Just the News. "By the time I got back, he wasn't."

News reports based on unnamed sources over the past few days said that Esper had planned to resign. In recent months, Esper clashed with the president, most notably not supporting Trump's wish to use Insurrection Act during the widespread protests and riots that occurred nationwide this summer. The Insurrection Act allows a president to use active-military forces as law enforcement.