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November 09, 2020

After Esper’s Dismissal, King Emphasizes Dangers of Playing Politics with National Security During Presidential Transition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after President Donald Trump announced the dismissal of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper:

“Right now, America hangs in the balance of a precarious moment – mere weeks before a presidential transition, with dangerous national security threats as foreign adversaries monitor our resolve and look for vulnerabilities. Now especially, it is vital that the Department of Defense’s core mission remains stable and focused on the tasks at hand: protecting our citizens, defending our national security interests, and conducting a seamless transition to the Biden Administration.

“Unfortunately, President Trump appears to have placed a personal vendetta against his own Secretary of Defense ahead of the interest of the nation. Secretary Esper took an oath to the Constitution, not this President; the same is true for the newly-appointed Acting Secretary. This is no time for sour grapes; it’s time for America’s top civilian officials to put the good of the country first. While I have grave concerns that this announcement ignores the Department of Defense’s established order of succession, I truly hope that Acting Secretary Miller will rise to this moment. Our nation’s security – during the next ten weeks and beyond – depends on it.”

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