Defense Secretary Mark Esper ready to leave the Trump administration: officials
U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper speaks to the press during a press conference at the Pentagon Briefing Room in Washington, D.C., Jan. 7, 2020. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Nicole Mejia)

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has prepped a resignation letter officials told NBC News on Thursday. Just two days after the election and before the official result was announced, Esper explained that he anticipated he'd be fired by President Donald Trump anyway.

"While Esper considered issuing a directive that would order the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force to change the names in their respective services — an order that could be overturned by Trump, who has strongly opposed renaming bases — he now plans to work with Congress to put language in the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) so the name changes will be written into law," recalled NBC News.

Trump and Esper have been at odds after the two disagreed on using active-duty military members to stop protests in the U.S. over the summer. The two also disagreed about renaming bases that were previously named after military officials who lost the Civil War.

"Esper is also thinking about his legacy, said the two officials," said NBC. "He earned the nickname 'Yesper' from lawmakers and White House officials for, in their view, his willingness to implement Trump's agenda without pushing back."

"He cares about his legacy and prefers to be remembered as someone who was fired because he stood up to the president, rather than being remembered as 'Yesper,'" one defense official told NBC.

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