Mark Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief
Army Secretary Mark Esper was sworn in as U.S. secretary of defense, hours after being confirmed by the Senate in a strong bipartisan vote that ended the longest period by far the Pentagon had been without a permanent top official.
Esper, 55, was sworn in at the White House by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in a ceremony hosted by President Donald Trump and attended by a number of Republican lawmakers. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a vote of 90-8 several hours earlier, Reuters reported.
"That’s a vote that we’re not accustomed to, Mark. I have to say that, so congratulations," Trump told Esper, a former professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.
Trump’s previous pick to be secretary of defense Patrick Shanahan, withdrew from consideration on June 18.