Mark Esper sworn in as US defense secretary

Mark Esper sworn in as US defense secretary

Mark Esper, an army veteran and former defense industry lobbyist, was sworn in as the US secretary of defense after receiving Senate confirmation on Tuesday.

Esper’s confirmation, by a vote of 90-8, comes after a seven-month vacancy in the post. He was sworn in hours later at the White House by the supreme court justice Samuel Alito in a ceremony attended by Donald Trump.

“He’s going to be a great one,” Trump predicted at the swearing-in.

Esper will succeed the Marine general Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis. His confirmation ends a record stretch for the Pentagon without a secretary of defense, which began when Mattis stepped down last December after clashing with Trump over the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

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