Ex-President Donald Trump on Sunday didn’t deny former Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s account of him proposing that the U.S. military fire missiles into Mexico to fight drug cartels.
Esper first revealed Trump’s proposal in his new memoir, writing that the then-president had asked him at least twice during the summer of 2020 if the Pentagon could “shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs.”
According to Esper, Trump believed it would’ve been possible for the U.S. government to do so in secret, telling the Pentagon chief that “no one would know it was us.”
The ex-Defense secretary recalled the discussion again during his “60 Minutes” interview, saying Trump had suggested the strikes as a way to “go after the cartels” in Mexico.
Esper said that there was at least one fellow Trump Cabinet official, whom the Pentagon leader did not name, who could corroborate his story.
Trump’s two-word response to the question of whether he thought about firing missiles into Mexico stood in contrast to his tirades about Esper in the rest of his official statement to “60 Minutes” on Sunday.
The former president claimed that Esper’s allegation that he had suggested shooting George Floyd protesters was a “complete lie.”
“Mark Esper was weak and totally ineffective, and because of it, I had to run the military,” Trump ranted.
In fact, he repeated twice that “I had to run the military myself” because Esper “was a RINO [Republican In Name Only] incapable of leading.”
Esper also told “60 Minutes” that he and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley had to secretly work together to keep Trump from doing “dangerous things” with the military “that could have taken the country in a dark direction” during the last year of his presidency.
There were people in the White House who were proposing “military action” against Venezuela, a strike in Iran and a blockade against Cuba, according to Esper.