A newly revealed memo lays out the a series of gripes that Donald Trump loyalist Johnny McEntee assembled in a bizarre memo urging the ouster of former Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
The memo, produced by McEntee’s Office of Presidential Personnel and dated October 19, 2020 – just weeks before the presidential election – combines policy disagreements in personality traits, in a compilation of firing offenses.
Among the reasons listed: Esper ‘issued a policy that bars the display of hte Confederate flag on military instalation[s], after the President supported such displays as freedom of speech.
Another: Esper ‘publicly opposed the President’s direction to utilize American forces to put down riots just outside the White House in the nation’s capital. Limiting the President’s decision space.’
That was a reference to the use of National Guard forces to clear protesters from Lafayette Square shortly before a Trump photo-op – a move that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley would apologize for.
Journalist Jonathan Karl of ABC News tweeted out an image of the memo, which is featured in his new book, Betrayal, The Final Act of the Trump Show.’
‘There is a reason he is known as “Yesper”: A memo compiled by Johnny McEntee’s Office of Presidential Personnel details a laundry list of complaints against former Pentagon chief Mark Esper, who Trump forced out in the final weeks of his term
Some of the bullet-pointed reasons reflect a distaste for Esper’s manner. ‘The Joint Staff is running the show, as Milley’s personality overshadows his civilian boss Esper,’ it says.
‘There is a reason he is known as “Yesper,” reads another point.
It also cites that he ‘has been actively pushing for “diversity and inclusion,” announcing he would stand up a board, and has not done anything to stop the Services from pushing out similar initiatives.’
The also states he was ‘against’ the U.S. airstrike that took out Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps leader Gen. Suleimani, ‘and subsequently stated he would “rule out” military attacks on cultural sites in Iran if the conflict escalated, despite the President wanting to keep that option open,’ it said.
The two-page memo urges the removal of Defense Sec. Mark Esper. Journalist Jonathan Karl tweeted out an image of it
The memo called out Esper for failing to support use of US military forces to ‘put down riots’ outside the White House
It also said Esper was against the US military strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani
It also notes he ‘approved the promotion of Lt. Col Vindman, the start [sic] witness in the sham impeachment inquiry,’ a reference to now retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified about Trump’s call with the president of Ukraine.
At the tail end of an administration whose Russia policy was under constant scrutiny, the memo said Esper ‘focused the Department on Russia – direting in last September to “sprint” at them – and to look at “every facet of competition” with Moscow.” It says this ‘consumed the time’ of senior leadership.
Karl’s book explores how McEntee rose from carrying the president’s bags to assume a powerful role as an ultra-loyalist who oversaw purges at executive agencies meant to weed out ‘anti-Trumpers’ and boosted Trump’s election overturn effort, according to a new book.
McEntee, 31, a former University of Connecticut football quarterback, had premier access to Trump in the early days at the White House, acting as Trump’s ‘body man’ by carrying bags and other necessities.
He would later get booted by former chief of staff John Kelly after a background check turned up gambling issues.
McEntee’s influence became so outsized he ‘became the deputy president,’ a senior official told Karl.
Trump aides compared his office to East Germany’s infamous internal police, the Stasi, as well as the Gestapo for its pursuit of potential ‘traitors.’
But a top level cabinet secretary called him a ‘f***ing idiot.’
Director of the Presidential Personnel Office Johnny McEntee, 31, policed the administration seeking to weed out people deemed disloyal. His office produced a memo urging Esper’s ouster, according to Jonathan Karl’s book
Esper was fired as Defense Secretary last year after Trump loyalists drew up a memo setting out what they saw as his transgressions against the president, according to a new book.
In his new book, Karl details the last months of the administration and the figures pulling strings behind the scenes.
In some cases, he writes, they were young and inexperienced but were promoted for their loyalty and wielded considerable influence.
They included McEntee, who rose from being the president’s body man and aide, to director of the Presidential Personnel Office.
He installed Josh Whitehouse as the administration’s liaison to the Department of Defense.
‘I’m going to the Pentagon to fire [Defense Secretary Mark] Esper and those deep-state bastards,’ he told friends, according to Karl’s account.
President Trump fired Mark Esper as Defense Secretary by tweet, six days after the election – in line with a memo drafted by loyalists at the Presidential Personnel Office
John McEntee (l) with then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in May 2020
Once there he helped the Presidential Personnel Office write memos identifying almost two dozen Pentagon officials they thought should be fired.
The new book details the memo on Esper, which has never before been made public.
Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show by Jonathan Karl is published Nov 16 by Dutton
‘It includes bullet points outlining Esper’s sins: He “bars the display of the Confederate flag” on military bases; “opposed the President’s direction to utilize American forces to put down riots”; “focused the Department on Russia”; was “actively pushing for ‘diversity and inclusion’”; and so on,’ according to Karl.
‘The memo recommended that Esper be fired immediately after the election and replaced by Christopher Miller, then the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.’
Esper was fired six days after last year’s election, dismissed by a presidential tweet.
Miller replaced Esper, just as the Whitehouse memo suggested.
‘Chris will do a GREAT job!’ Trump tweeted.
‘Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.’
Esper had pushed back on Trump’s demands to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and disagreed with the president’s wish to send soldiers to put down demonstrations that erupted after the police killing of George Floyd.
The move – a lame duck president dismissing the civilian leader of the armed forces, and a key figure in the chain of command – sent shockwaves around Washington.
McEntee also selected Miller’s senior adviser, Douglas Macgregor, a retired Army colonel and regular guest on Tucker Carlson’s show, writes Karl.
And he gave Macgregor a handwritten to-do list for his new team at the Pentagon.
It said: ‘1. Get us out of Afghanistan; 2. Get us out of Iraq and Syria; 3. Complete the withdrawal from Germany; 4. Get us out of Africa.’
‘This is what the president wants you to do,’ McEntee told him, according to the account.
Further details of how Esper clashed with Trump loyalists emerged recently.
Stephen Miller, the architect of Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda, hatched a plan with the Department of Homeland Security to send 250,000 troops to the border wall to secure the frontier with Mexico during the pandemic, an idea dismissed by Esper.
The New York Times reported that the plan, mooted in spring 2020, would have involved more than half the active duty Army.
It would have been the largest use of military force within the U.S. since the Civil War.
But the idea never made it to Trump’s desk but it reportedly enraged Esper, who believed it would undermine American military readiness around the world.