Esper previously disagreed with the idea of using army units to end riots
According to White House spokeswoman Kaley Mackenani, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was still in office on Wednesday, contrary to rumors that President Donald Trump wants to remove the Pentagon chief because of his disagreement with the idea of using US Army units to suppress riots.
“At the moment, Secretary of State Esper is still the secretary of defense. If the president loses confidence in him, we will find out about this, ”Mackenani said at a press briefing in the White House.
Esper said earlier Wednesday that he does not support the application of the Anti-Rebellion Act to suppress civil unrest. Esper added that he did not know that Donald Trump was going to include him in a group of politicians who took a group photo against the backdrop of the partially burnt Church of St. John, located across the street from the White House.
Mackenani said people protesting the murder of George Floyd were ousted from the square in front of the church before Trump, his cabinet members, and top aides, including Mackenani, went there for a group photograph, as Attorney General William Barr had earlier day ordered to expand the security perimeter around the White House.
“It was an early day. He [Barr] noticed that he [the perimeter] was not expanded and gave an order to expand it, which was done, ”said Mackenani.
Trump previously noted that he did not order to oust the protesters from the square. The police explained the use of pepper gas and smoke bombs to disperse the crowd because protesters threw various items at the police.