The Slatest

Trump Refers to Defense Secretary Esper as “Esperanto” in Rambling Tweet About Syria

President Donald Trump and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper attend the Armed Forces Welcome Ceremony in honor of the Twentieth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on September 30, 2019 at Summerall Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Sunday to once again defend his decision to pull U.S.
troops out of northeastern Syria. But in the process, he may have revealed that his Defense secretary hasn’t made much of an impression on him since he was named to the post in June. In the tweet, Trump quoted “Mark Esperanto, Secretary of Defense, ‘The ceasefire is holding up very nicely. There are some minor skirmishes that have ended quickly. New areas being resettled with the Kurds’.” The name of the Defense secretary is Mark Esper. “USA soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zones. We have secured the Oil. Bringing soldiers home!” Trump added. Around two hours later, that tweet had been deleted and the president posted another one with the correct spelling of Esper’s name.


Yet the misspelling was not the only thing questionable about Trump’s tweet, which claimed the decision to pull out of northern Syria meant he was “bringing soldiers home.” Esper said the U.S. troops being pulled out of Syria will be sent to western Iraq where they will fight ISIS. “Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal,” he told reporters traveling with him to the Middle East. “But that’s the game plan right now.”


It’s also unclear what Trump was referring to when he wrote that “We have secured the Oil.” In fact, some journalists traveling with Esper noted that they didn’t recognize the quote the president was citing. “I’m travelling with Defense Secretary Esper and cant recall the quote Trump is using,” tweeted Reuters correspondent Idrees Ali. “While speaking with us Enroute to Afghanistan, Esper also made no mention of new areas being resettled with Kurds or oil.” The Wall Street Journal’s Nancy Youssef agreed, saying she “did not hear Esper mention resettled Kurds or oil.”

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