Who is Mark Esperanto? That’s what people wondered when President Donald Trump referred to him in a Sunday morning tweet. It turns out, though, that there is no Mark Esperanto. and Trump was actually referring to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
CNN’s Brian Stelter jumped into the rounds of criticism against Trump for the misspelling on Twitter. “Someone’s phone converted Esper into Esperanto. The result is the president misspelling the name of his own defense secretary. Shouldn’t these tweets be, you know, proofread?” he wrote, sharing a screenshot of the president’s Tweet.
Here’s what Trump wrote:
Trump later posted an updated tweet with the right name, Mark Esper: “‘The ceasefire is holding up very nicely. There are some minor skirmishes that have ended quickly. New areas being resettled with Kurds. U.S. soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zone. We have secured the Oil.’ Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense. Ending endless wars!”
Here’s how the tweet originally looked with the name Mark Esperanto in it:
“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.’ USA soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zones. We have secured the Oil. Bringing soldiers home!”
Idrees Ali, Reuters foreign police correspondent, then raised additional questions about the Trump tweet. He wrote on Twitter: “I’m not sure who Trump is referring to, but I’m travelling with Defense Secretary Esper and cant recall the quote Trump is using. While speaking with us Enroute to Afghanistan, Esper also made no mention of new areas being resettled with Kurds or oil.”
Anthony Scaramucci, who used to work for Trump until he didn’t, wrote on Twitter: “Trump’s best attempts to appeal to Hispanic voters are tweeting about the taco bowls at Trump Grill and changing Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s name to Esperanto.”
Brandon Friedman, a New York Daily News columnist, joked, “If Trump decides Mark Esper’s name really *is* Esperanto, within hours, Republicans will be referring to “Secretary Esperanto” and Esper himself will be on Fox News explaining why he mistakenly referred to himself by the wrong name for so many years.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Defense Secretary Mark Esper Is a Military Veteran Who Commanded a Rifle Company
According to his Defense Department biography, the actual Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper was born on April 26, 1964, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. “He is a 1986 graduate of the United States Military Academy and received his commission in the Infantry,” the bio reads.
“Upon completion of Ranger and Pathfinder training, he served in the 101st Airborne Division and participated in the 1990-91 Gulf War with the ‘Screaming Eagles.’ He later commanded a Rifle Company in the 3-325 Airborne Battalion Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy. He retired from the U.S. Army in 2007 after spending 10 years on active duty and 11 years in the National Guard and Army Reserve.”
After leaving active duty, Esper served as Chief of Staff at The Heritage Foundation, “followed by service as legislative director and senior policy advisor to former Senator Chuck Hagel. He was a senior professional staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Government Affairs committees, policy director for the House Armed Services Committee, and national security advisor for former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.”
During the President George W. Bush administration, “he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy at the Pentagon,” the bio says. He held other positions throughout government also.
“Dr. Esper holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a doctorate in Public Policy from George Washington University. Dr. Esper and his wife, Leah, have been married for 30 years and have 3 adult children,” the bio reads, adding that Esper “was sworn in as the 27th Secretary of Defense July 23, 2019. He served as Acting Secretary of Defense from June 24, 2019, to July 15, 2019. Dr. Esper served as the Secretary of the Army from Nov. 20, 2017, to June 24, 2019, and from July 15, 2019, to July 23, 2019.”