Earlier, Esper expressed disagreement with the idea of using army units to stop the unrest.
According to White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Defense Secretary Mark Esper was still in office on Wednesday, despite rumors that President Donald Trump wants to remove the head of the Pentagon because of his opposition to the idea of using US Army units to quell unrest.
“At the moment, Secretary Esper is still the Minister of Defense. If the President loses confidence in him, we will find out about it,” McEnany said at a press briefing at the White House.
Earlier on Wednesday, Esper said that he does not support the use of the law “On counterinsurgency” to quell civil unrest. Esper added that he did not know that Donald Trump was going to include him in the group of politicians who took a group photo against the background of the partially burned St. John’s Church. St. John’s, located across the street from the White House.
McEnany said people protesting the murder of George Floyd were pushed out of the square in front of the Church before Trump, members of his Cabinet and top aides, including McEnany, went there for a group photo, as attorney General William Barr earlier in the day ordered an expanded security perimeter around the White House.
“It was early afternoon. Barr noticed that it [the perimeter] was not expanded and gave the order to expand it, which was also done,” McEnany said.
Trump previously noted that he did not order the protesters to be forced out of the square. Police officials explained the use of pepper gas and smoke bombs to disperse the crowd by the fact that the protesters threw various objects at the police.