Pentagon spokesman dismisses media report on Esper’s resignation plan

US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper

Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman has dismissed a media report that claimed US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper was planning to resign.

“The NBC story is inaccurate and misleading in many ways. To be clear, Secretary of Defence Esper has no plans to resign, nor has he been asked to submit a letter of resignation,” Xinhua news agency quoted Hoffman as saying in a tweet late Thursday.

Citing three defense officials, NBC News had reported earlier in the day that Esper had “prepared his letter because he is one of the Cabinet officials long expected to be pushed out after the election.”

Esper helps lawmakers draft legislation to remove Confederate names from military bases, which could lead to a further rift between him and President Donald Trump, the report said.

For months, US media has been reporting about the President’s frustration with Esper, who opposed using active-duty troops against civil unrest in June when Trump threatened to send military forces to crack down on nationwide demonstrations against racial injustice.

When asked if he would fire Esper at a press briefing in August, Trump said he “considers firing everybody.”

Esper took office as the 27th US Defence Secretary in July 2019.

His predecessor Jim Mattis left office in December 2018 after clashing with Trump over US troops’ withdrawal from Syria.

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