- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The White House said Wednesday that President Trump will let everyone know if he loses confidence in Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and that the president has the “sole authority” to call out military troops in response to riots.

“If he loses confidence in Secretary Esper, I’m sure you will all be the first to know,” said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. “As of right now, Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper, and should the president lose faith, we will all learn about that in the future.”

Mr. Esper dismayed many in the White House on Wednesday when he announced that he doesn’t support the use of the Insurrection Act of 1807, which the president warned on Monday he might invoke to restore order in cities roiled by looting and violence after the death of George Floyd. The unarmed black man was killed by a white police officer while in custody in Minneapolis.

Asked if Mr. Esper has expressed his views to the president, Ms. McEnany replied, “I wouldn’t get into the private conversations that went on here at the White House.”

She appeared to dismiss Mr. Esper’s comments by noting that the president “has the sole authority to invoke the Insurrection Act.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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