Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper laid out many times he helped stop “dangerous things that could have taken the country in a dark direction” in a “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday. Esper spoke with Norah O’Donnell about his book “A Sacred Oath” documenting his time in the Trump administration.
NewsViews reported on Trump’s desire to shoot BLM protesters but Esper’s interview revealed more details about a wide range of Trump’s unhinged ideas.
- Trump called his military leaders “f***ing losers” when trying to convince Esper to deploy 10,000 active duty troops to “just shoot” BLM activists in Washington, D.C.
- Trump stared at Mike Pence while berating those in the room as “f***ing losers.”
- Trump thought the BLM protests made him look weak.
- Esper said people in the White House were suggesting launching military attacks on Venezuela and Iran, or a blockade on Cuba.
- Trump privately spoke with Esper about shooting missiles into Mexico to target the drug cartels.
- Trump thought no one would know it was the U.S. bombing the neighbor to the south.
Trump denies most of this, but offered “no comment” about launching missiles into Mexico.
Esper says to fact-check his book, he sent all – or parts of — his manuscript to more than two dozen current and former four-star officers, senior civilians from the Pentagon, and Cabinet members. 60 Minutes spoke to six of them who said what they read was accurate.
Esper also said that he and General Mark Milley decided on a 4-point checklist to prevent catastrophe.
“One was no strategic retreats, no unnecessary wars, no politicization of the military and no misuse of the military. And so as we went through the next five or six months, that became the metric by which we would measure things.”
Speaking to his critics of writing a book, Esper says that if he had spoken out at the time, he would have been fired and succeeded by a loyalist. He believed he was of better service to the country to stay the course, placate strategically, and prevent Trump from accomplishing even more dangerous plans.
Esper said that he didn’t vote for either Trump or Biden in 2020, but hopes that Trump is not the Republican candidate in 2024.
“We need leaders of integrity and character, and we need leaders who will bring people together and reach across the aisle and do what’s best for the country. And Donald Trump doesn’t meet the mark for me on any of those issues.”