As outgoing President Donald Trump continues to attack the election results, recently fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper expressed an ominous warning about his former boss that Americans should take deadly seriously.

In the wake of losing the election to President-Elect Joe Biden, Trump fired Esper and replaced him with a loyalist who will likely follow any orders Trump hands down. That’s particularly disturbing because the Defense Secretary oversees the Pentagon and the nation’s military forces.

Earlier this year, Trump wanted to use the military against Americans citizens for protesting racial injustice. He even inquired about using tanks.

It’s chilling to think that Trump may be moving toward using the military to keep himself in power, but even Esper is deeply concerned about what Trump will do.

“I could have a fight over anything, and I could make it a big fight, and I could live with that,” Esper told the Military Times in an exit interview this week. “Why? Who’s going to come in behind me? It’s going to be a real ‘yes man.’ And then God help us. 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. Have you seen me on a stage saying, ‘Under the exceptional leadership of blah-blah-blah, we have blah-blah-blah-blah?’”

Of course, Esper hasn’t always pushed back against Trump. He has showered him with undue praise before and walked with Trump from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church on Lafayette Square after law enforcement brutally cleared peaceful protesters from the streets to clear a path so that Trump could take part in a propaganda photo-op.

But Esper has pushed back on Trump’s desire to use the military against Americans and would likely be opposed to any attempt to use the military to help him stay in power by force.

Now that Trump has a “yes man” as Acting Defense Secretary in Chris Miller, the former National Counterterrorism Center director, Trump may be positioning himself to attempt just that in a desperate ploy to remain in office. We can only hope that Miller has a line he won’t cross and that the Joint Chiefs of Staff will intervene to stop him and Trump from executing what would amount to a bloody military coup.

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