July 23, 2019

Moulton Statement on Esper Confirmation

WASHINGTON—Following today’s vote in the Senate to confirm Mark Esper as the United States Secretary of Defense, Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) made the following comments:

In my limited interactions with Mark Esper I have found him to be someone who believes in serving the country and supports the men and women in the armed forces.

However, his experience and credibility pale in comparison to the strength Secretary Mattis brought to the job, so I worry that will mean that the Secretary of Defense--the voice in the Situation Room for the men and women who will risk their lives defending the country--will not be able to successfully counter John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Stephen Miller, Jared Kushner and the other people in Trump’s orbit giving him reckless, bad advice.

This, coupled with a spate of retirements of career professionals within the Department of Defense, specifically at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks to the fact that the president cannot attract the best, most qualified candidates to fill vital national security roles. The fact that one in four of the most important seats at the Pentagon is empty right now should deeply concern every American.

I hope that Secretary Esper proves me wrong. I am happy to provide him with some advice in person and will use my seat on the House Armed Services Committee and as Vice Chairman of the House Budget Committee to hold Esper and the Trump Administration accountable for the important decisions they must make for the men and women in uniform.”