Former President Donald Trump on Sunday denied accusations that he wanted to use the US military to shoot protesters during civil rights demonstrations in the summer of 2020, but declined to comment on a similar report, which he said offered missiles. for attacking drug cartels in Mexico.
These allegations – and more – are included in a new book by former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper “Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense in Extraordinary Times” due to be published on Tuesday.
Axios reported from the book last week that as protesters filled the streets of Washington, D.C., in June 2020, Trump called Esper to the White House and asked his military chief, “Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something? “
Esper wrote that he was shocked by the request and should dissuade the commander-in-chief from the idea.
IN statement to “60 minutes” On Sunday night, Trump denied that this had happened.
“This is a complete lie and 10 witnesses can support it,” the former president said. “Mark Esper was weak and completely ineffective, so I had to lead the army.
Trump also referred to other revelations in the book, including a statement that he wanted to send 10,000 troops to Washington, D.C., in response to the Black Lives Matter protests. Trump denied this, but said he wanted to call the military for another key event.
“I wanted to send 10,000 troops on January 6 because I knew many people were coming to Washington that day to protest the corrupt presidential election in 2020,” he wrote, without providing any new evidence of electoral fraud.
In the book, Esper also said that Trump had proposed using military missiles to strike alleged drug cartels in Mexico without consulting the Mexican government. Trump offered “no comment” in response to the allegation.
Esper was fired by Trump in November 2020, less than a week after the presidential election. Esper said the move came because he was not loyal enough to Trump, but Trump said it was because Esper was “incapable of leading the army.”
In an interview with NPR over the weekend, the former defense chief said he hoped Trump would not run for president in 2024.
“We need leaders with integrity and character, and we need leaders who will unite the people and reach across the path and do what is best for the country,” he said. “And Donald Trump doesn’t qualify for me on any of these issues.”
Leo covers Congress, veterans’ issues and the White House wartime. It covers Washington, DC since 2004, focusing on policies for military personnel and veterans. His work has won numerous awards, including the 2009 Polk Award, the 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Award for Leadership in Journalism, and the VFW News Media Award.