Trump fires Esper as Pentagon chief after less than 2 years

Esper to urge Trump not to intervene in war crimes cases
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US Defense Secretary Mark Esper landed in Afghanistan on an unannounced stop, marking his first visit in this role to service members stationed in the region.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he has fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

It’s a stunning move on the heels of Trump’s failed reelection bid. It could also unsettle U.S. allies and partners.

The conventional wisdom is that stability atop the Pentagon and the military be maintained during a possible transition to a new administration.

Esper was Trump’s second defense secretary, succeeding Jim Mattis, who resigned in 2018.