It’s former Defense secretary Mark Esper’s turn to make some money by withholding scandalous information about Donald Trump only to release it in book form. In his forthcoming memoir of his time in the White House, Esper claims that Trump asked him if the U.S. could “shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs,” then lie to its ally by pretending his administration was not behind the extrajudicial attack.
“They don’t have control of their own country,” Esper recalls Trump saying, according to a copy of the book obtained by the New York Times. When Esper pushed back, he says the president reiterated that “we could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs, quietly.” (Aside from the fact that Patriot missiles have 200-pound warheads and are hardly quiet, they are anti-air ballistics used on planes, not ground targets.) “No one would know it was us,” Trump added, according to Esper.
The book states that Trump also wished to put 10,000 active-duty troops on the streets in Washington, D.C., during the protests against police brutality in June 2020. “Can’t you just shoot them?” he allegedly asked. “Just shoot them in the legs or something?” It was a question he also reportedly raised about migrants crossing the border.
Esper cited senior adviser and chief xenophobe Stephen Miller as a particularly bad influence on Trump’s thinking. In the situation room in October 2019, crowded around a feed of the raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound, Miller suggested that the Navy SEALs who killed the Islamic State leader should dip his head in pig’s blood and show it off to warn other terrorists.
When the Times asked Esper of his opinion on Trump, he gave a guarded answer: “He is an unprincipled person who, given his self-interest, should not be in the position of public service.” However, he writes that he never considered Trump’s conduct to be worthy of removing him from office via the 25th Amendment.