Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Christopher Miller, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will replace Mark Esper as acting secretary of Defense, President Trump tweeted on Monday.

Why it matters: Trump has clashed with Esper over a number of issues since the summer, and he was expected to be one of the first Cabinet secretaries to be removed after the election.

Between the lines: The Pentagon chief lost Trump's favor after he rebuffed the idea of sending active-duty military to deal with racial justice protests over the summer and distanced himself from the clearing of Lafayette Square protesters for a photo op at St. John's church.

  • Esper has also been working with Congress on legislation to remove the names of Confederate leaders from military bases, a move that has further put him at odds with the president, according to NBC News.
  • The change is effective immediately. Miller previously oversaw special operations forces in counterterrorism.

The big picture: Other Cabinet officials expected to be fired by Trump in the lame-duck session include CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Trump has also teased the idea of firing Anthony Fauci, but he would not be able to do so directly because Fauci is not a political appointee.

What they're saying: "I am pleased to announce that Christopher C. Miller, the highly respected Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (unanimously confirmed by the Senate), will be Acting Secretary of Defense, effective immediately," Trump tweeted.

  • "Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service."

In an interview with the Military Times on Nov. 4, Esper — realizing that he was on his way out — pushed back on the notion that he was a "yes man" for the president.

  • “My frustration is I sit here and say, ‘Hm, 18 Cabinet members. Who’s pushed back more than anybody?’ Name another Cabinet secretary that’s pushed back,” Esper said. "Have you seen me on a stage saying, ‘Under the exceptional leadership of blah-blah-blah, we have blah-blah-blah-blah?’"
  • “At the end of the day, it’s as I said — you’ve got to pick your fights. I could have a fight over anything, and I could make it a big fight, and I could live with that — why? Who’s going to come in behind me? It’s going to be a real ‘yes man.’ And then God help us.”

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Nov 17, 2020 - World

Trump to cut troops in Afghanistan, but not to zero

Trump visits Afghanistan in 2019. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP vis Getty

Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced on Tuesday that the U.S. would draw down its troop levels in both Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 by Jan. 15, 2021.

Why it matters: The U.S. currently has roughly 4,500 troops in Afghanistan, so this will be a significant reduction even as it falls short of President Trump's promise to end America's military presence there altogether.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.