Trump agrees to send home troops from D.C., easing tensions with Pentagon

None of the active-duty forces ever actually deployed in Washington, instead remaining on alert outside the city while National Guard troops took up position near the White House and elsewhere around town. But they became caught up in a confrontation pitting a commander in chief intent on demonstrating strength in the face of street demonstrations versus a military command resistant to being drawn into domestic law enforcement or election year politics…

What appeared on Thursday to be an uneasy truce between the White House and Pentagon did not mean that the conflict was over. While Mr. Trump’s advisers counseled him not to fire Mr. Esper, the president spent much of the day privately railing about the defense secretary, who along with Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, opposed the president’s desire to send regular troops into the nation’s cities.

Mr. Trump has been dismissive of Mr. Esper as weak, according to people who have heard the president speak on the matter, but he told aides that he understands their warnings that he would risk more criticism from military officials if he were to dismiss the defense secretary, fueling a rising revolt among retired officers in the thick of a re-election campaign…

In private conversations lately with aides, the president described Mr. Mattis as someone more concerned about getting invited to parties in Washington than anything else, according to a person familiar with the discussion.