Trump attacks ‘weak’ Mark Esper after ‘Mexico missile’ memoir claim

Given the opportunity to say whether he was considering firing missiles at Mexico, as his former defense secretary writes in a new memoir, Donald Trump avoided the question, instead calling his former cabinet member “weak and ineffective”.

Trump, in a written statement to CBS’s 60 Minutes, said he had “no comment” when asked if he had ever asked former Defense Secretary Mark Esper to send “missiles to Mexico” to destroy drug cartel labs in the country, which Esper claimed in a memoir published this week.

And after confirming or disputing Esper’s recollections, the former president instead mocked his second and last Secretary of Defense by calling him “Yesper”, among other things, resorting to the bombshell Trump used before. whenever he was confronted with unfavorable facts.

“Mark Esper was weak and utterly ineffective, and because of that I had to lead the military,” Trump’s statement to 60 Minutes boasted. “He was a lightweight and a figurehead, and I realized that early on.

“I fired Yesper because he was a Rino (Republican in name only) unable to lead, and I had to lead the military myself.”

In A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Defense Secretary in Extraordinary Times, Esper describes himself as one of the few presidential aides who opposed bad or illegal ideas put on the table by Trump or his subordinates. Other such ideas included assassinating a senior Iranian military officer operating outside the Islamic Republic, sending 250,000 troops to the US border with Mexico, and dipping the decapitated head of a terrorist leader in pig’s blood as a warning to other Islamist militants, according to Esper’s memoir. .

Although he avoids discussing the concept of attacking Mexico with missiles, Trump’s statement to 60 Minutes took issue with some scenes included in Esper’s memoir, such as his request that people protesting the killing of George Floyd by police in 2020 be shot in the legs. Trump’s statement claimed he never felt the need to invoke the Insurrection Act — allowing him to deploy the military nationwide — against racial justice protesters, to whom Esper devotes some space. in his memoirs.

And, contrary to evidence made public by the congressional committee investigating his supporters’ attack on the Capitol on January 6, Trump’s statement claimed he wanted to send 10,000 troops ahead of that day to provide security.

Trump fired Esper on November 9, 2020, six days after the election he lost to Joe Biden.

Esper’s memoir comes as Trump endorsed a slew of candidates in this fall’s midterm elections, which many see as a referendum on his political power as he aims to run for president again in 2024. .

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