Secretary of Defense Mark Esper this week reportedly angered President Donald Trump when he said that he did not want to deploy American military forces in Washington D.C.
A new report from the Washington Post claims that this was a very rare act of defiance for Esper, who has earned a reputation in the Pentagon as a loyal Trump apparatchik.
"His former colleagues still serving in the military had warned him in recent months about Trump’s sway over its leadership," the Post's sources say. "Some told him that Esper had been dubbed 'Yesper' by some in the Pentagon because he seemed unable to say no to the president."
A source close to Esper tells the Post that the defense secretary has been working hard to maintain a balance between carrying out the president's orders and making sure the military isn't carelessly unleashed on American citizens.
“Esper is working to keep the Department of Defense apolitical in turbulent times,” the official said. “That is not easy and is not without criticism — both inside and outside DoD — but in the long run it is what is best for the department, the men and women in uniform, and the nation.”