Defense Secretary Splits with Trump on Sending the Military in During George Floyd Unrest

The New York Times reports that "about 1,600 airborne troops and military police have been ordered to be positioned outside the capital," according to U.S. officials. The federal government has broader powers in D.C., compared to the states.

Earlier this week Esper appeared to try and distance himself from Monday's use of law enforcement for Trump's controversial appearance in front of . John's Episcopal Church, which the White House was an effort to project resolve.

The defense secretary, who accompanied Trump on his walk to the church, had told NBC , “I didn’t know where I was going," adding, "I wanted to see how much damage actually happened.”

Later, however, Esper said that he did actually know where he and the others were heading, though he said he didn't know there would be a photo-op.

Speaking with reporters at a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, McEnany was vague about how Esper's public split with the president would affect his job.

"As of right now, Secretary Esper is Secretary Esper,” she said. "With regard to whether the president has confidence, I would say if he loses confidence in Secretary Esper, I'm sure you all be the first to know."

"Should the president lose faith," McEnany said, "we will all learn about that in the future."

Trump nominated Esper last July.

His previous defense secretary, Jim Mattis, resigned in December 2018 in large part due to a disagreement with Trump over pulling troops out of Syria, where the U.S. was providing military support for allies against the Islamic State, according to the Times.

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