The Pentagon is hitting down a report by NBC News that claimed Defense Secretary Mark Esper had prepared a resignation letter.
Jonathan Hoffman, the assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, said on Twitter, “The NBC story is inaccurate and misleading in many ways. To be clear, Secretary of Defense Esper has no plans to resign, nor has he been asked to submit a letter of resignation.”
“He continues to serve the nation as the Secretary of Defense at the pleasure of the President and is working on the irreversible implementation of the National Defense Strategy,” Hoffman added.
He continues to serve the nation as the Secretary of Defense at the pleasure of the President and is working on the irreversible implementation of the National Defense Strategy.
— Jonathan Hoffman (@ChiefPentSpox45) November 5, 2020
NBC News reported on Thursday, “Defense officials say Esper prepared his letter because he is one of the Cabinet officials long expected to be pushed out after the election.” NBC News cited “three current defense officials.”
Hoffman told the outlet, “The speculation about potential resignations of Cabinet officials is a well-worn, D.C.-insider, post-election parlor game.”
NBC News also noted that it is “not uncommon for Cabinet secretaries to prepare undated letters of resignation during a presidential transition, giving the commander in chief the chance to replace them for a second term.”
This follows after previous reports in August suggested that President Donald Trump privately discussed possibly replacing Esper after the 2020 presidential election if reelected, according to a source familiar. The source claimed Trump and Esper were “not in a good place.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere said at the time, “President Trump has assembled an incredible team at the White House and across the federal government who have accomplished undeniable successes on behalf of the American people. We have no personnel announcements at this time nor would it be appropriate to speculate about changes after the election or in a second term.”
The latest report comes as Americans are eagerly awaiting the results of the presidential election. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden holds 253 Electoral College votes, as of 9:35 a.m. EST, and Trump holds 214 electoral votes, out of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
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