Who Is Mark Esper? Narrated By Mohanad Elshieky | NowThis

– If anybody challenges us, they will be met with a severe response. – [Mohanad] That’s Mark Esper, a former top lobbyist at Raytheon, the giant defense contractor, and the U.S. current secretary of defense. He’s second in command to the president, charged with leading all the armed forces. But who is Mark Esper? I’m not! I’m Mohanad Elsheiky, and this is a little story
about a high-powered lobbyist turned guy who stands to benefit
from his former lobbying. Mark Thomas Esper was born in 1964 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania,
home of the Big Mac. Meaning, two potentially
dangerous threats to mankind hail from the same town. That’s pretty neat. Esper is a graduate of the
famous 1986 class of West Point, which included Secretary
of State Mike Pompeo, among other Trump
administration officials. The West Point Academy’s honor code reads, which seems worth noting for some reason. After West Point, Esper
served in the Gulf War. He received the Bronze Star and a Combat Infantryman
Badge for his service in Iraq. He served more than a
decade on active duty. In 1996, Esper became chief of staff at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank funded by political mega donors like Rebekah Mercer and Betsy DeVos. Later, he worked as a
senior policy advisor for Senator Chuck Hagel, a guy who voted for the war in Iraq. Cool policy advising. Hagel would later be hired
by the Obama administration to serve as the country’s
secretary of defense. Esper would go on to work in the George W. Bush administration as the Deputy Assistant
Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy at the Pentagon. In 2010, Esper was hired as vice president of government relations at Raytheon, where he spent seven years as the defense contractor’s top lobbyist, making sure the U.S. government bought as much weaponry
from them as possible. Raytheon does billions
of dollars of business with the U.S. government each year, and during Esper’s tenure, Raytheon posted record federal
lobbying spending in 2013, dishing out $7.6 million. Esper is essentially the face of what President Eisenhower termed “the military-industrial complex,” or the relationship between the military and the companies that
make military equipment. And now, Mark Esper is
the secretary of defense. One interesting sidebar: Esper was confirmed two days before Trump. According to a whistleblower, asked Ukraine to quote “do us a favor” and investigate his
political rival, the Bidens. And if they didn’t, he would withhold hundreds of millions of
dollars in military aid. Just an hour and 45 minutes after the phone call on July 25th, Trump welcomed Mark Esper
in full honors ceremony on the Pentagon’s Parade Field. During Esper’s confirmation hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren called on him to recuse himself from
matters involving Raytheon. – You’re prohibited from participating in any decisions involving Raytheon for two years after your
appointment as Army Secretary. But because you have already been in government for 20 months, that recusal period is
set to expire in November, which means you will soon
be able to participate personally and substantially in matters involving your former employer. That’s a conflict of interest given that Raytheon
does billions of dollars worth of business every year
with the Defense Department. – [Mohanad] Esper stands to
benefit from Raytheon’s success. He’s entitled to at least $1 million in deferred compensation and there’s nothing stopping him from lining the pockets
of his former colleagues. Senator Elizabeth Warren knows
this, and she kept pushing. – I recently introduced legislation to block the revolving
door between the Pentagon and giant defense
contractors, like Raytheon, by prohibiting big defense contractors from hiring former senior DOD officials for four years after
they leave government. If it were the law, you couldn’t go back to work at Raytheon or any other defense
contractor immediately. In other words, it would help
close the revolving door. If confirmed, will you
commit not to work for or get paid by any defense contractor for at least four years after
your government service? – No, Senator, I will not. – [Mohanad] Esper was
confirmed 90 to eight. – He is not willing to make a commitment that he will not engage
in conflicts of interest for the company
– Thank you, Ms. Warren. – for which he was a lobbyist. This is outrageous. – [Mohanad] Esper is in charge
of the military’s budget, which stands at $738 billion. It’s a mind-boggling amount of money. Critics argue a percentage of that money should be spent to help
the American people in the form of universal health care and/or free college tuition for all Americans instead of war. After all, the United States military spends as much as the next
eight countries combined. It’s almost as if we were warned this would happen nearly 60 years ago. Oh wait, we were. – In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power
exists, and will persist. – [Mohanad] It’s unclear whether or not Esper will work closely with Raytheon throughout the rest of
his time in the Pentagon. After he leaves the government, he might spin around once
more in the revolving door, all the way back to a
giant defense contractor, who might then be in a better place because of the work he accomplished while in the government. Raytheon’s stock surged by 1.5% after the U.S. assassinated
Qasem Soleimani. And a president with Twitter fingers will only fatten Esper’s
already fat wallet. (quirky music) – Hey, thanks for watching “Who Is?” Did you know we have a podcast now too? On “Who Is? The Podcast,” I’ll dive deep into the fascinating lives of the people who run things, whose decisions impact
every aspect of our lives. How did they get where they are today? And knowing that, what might they do next? From politicians to the ultra-rich to military contractors and
monarchs and media moguls. I’ll introduce you to
the reporters and experts who know these real-life
world-molders best, sharp-eyed observers and confidants who observe our subjects
as they make the decisions that define our everyday lives. To see more, hit the link or search Who Is? on the iHeartRADIO app or wherever you get your podcasts. And for more of the video
series you know and love, be sure to check out the Snapchat versions and our series playlists
on YouTube and Facebook.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. For sharing, breaking news: Donald Trump offered Julian Assange a pardon if he said the Russians didn't play a role in the leak of DNC emails, court hears… Source Mail online

  2. He made a lobbyist the Secretary of Defense and then the Chuds unironically chant drain the swamp. Am I still a parody?

  3. If you got a dog and pony show going people like This will keep stealing from the American people. Trump supporters need to wake up because they will never have a place at the table they will never be part of this class of people you’re just being used sad to watch you outside of trump rallies it’s so futile he doesn’t care about you. they don’t care about you..

  4. This is the opposite of what most Trump supporters say they support, but they're too uninformed to do anything about it.

  5. Trump for jail Mike Bloomberg when you win the election please put trump in jail ….then do wonderful things for America

  6. Eisenhower's warning was correct, the US government has been taken over by the power of the Military Industrial Complex. That is why we always find ourselves in continuous warfare.

  7. Always smearing anyone working for Trump administration. Btw you liar Trump asked Zelensky to investigate crowd strike and why Biden got a prosecutor fired which we now know Hunter is a suspect of a criminal investigation. Nothing to do with 2020 election.

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