- Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper recounted his time working with the Trump administration.
- Esper said Donald Trump proposed shooting missiles “into Mexico to destroy the drug labs.”
- “No one would know it was us,” Esper recounted Trump saying, per The New York Times.
Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper said former President Donald Trump suggested launching missiles into Mexico to “destroy the drug labs,” The New York Times reported Friday.
Esper noted the alleged proposal in his upcoming memoir, “A Sacred Oath,” detailing his time as the last-Senate confirmed defense secretary for the Trump administration.
According to The Times, Esper said Trump, frustrated by the drug trade at the southern US border, proposed at least twice that the US military could “shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs” and wipe out cartels in the country.
“They don’t have control of their own country,” Esper recalled the former president saying, per The Times report.
After Esper objected to the proposal, Trump maintained that “we could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs quietly,” and “no one would know it was us,” the former defense secretary recounted.
Esper added in the book that he would have thought the former president was joking if he hadn’t talked to the former president face-to-face, according to The Times.
Earlier this year, Esper filed a suit against the Defense Department after the agency he once led wanted to block information from the manuscript. Esper’s lawyer told The Times in February that the book will be published with “minimal redactions.” The Times also reported that his book was reviewed by dozens of four-star generals and some cabinet members ahead of the book’s release on May 10.
Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
In an interview with 60 Minutes on Thursday, Esper said the Trump administration previously had a plan to send 250,000 active-duty troops to the US-Mexico border. The former defense secretary said he first heard of the “absurd” plan from then-senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller.
“He’s behind me, and this voice just starts talking about ‘caravans are coming, and we need to get troops to the border, and we need a quarter of a million troops, and I think he’s joking,” Esper told CBS’ Norah O’Donnell. “And then I turn around and look at him, at these deadpan eyes, and clearly, he is not joking.”
Esper added: “I just turn squarely around to him, facing him, and say, ‘I don’t have a quarter of a million troops to send on some ridiculous mission to the border.'”
Esper said he then went to Gen. Mark Milley, who serves as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to confirm if the plan was actually in the works.
“Milley comes back days later, and the door opens up, and he’s waving a document in his hands, and says something like, ‘Secretary you’re not going to believe this,'” Esper said. “And that’s when he explains to me that yes, they were working, that we had developed a plan, an initial concept of how this might happen, and I was just flabbergasted that not only was the idea proposed, but people in my department were working on it.”
Powered by WPeMatico