Donald Trump absolutely unloaded on his former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper over claims made in an upcoming memoir, referring to Esper as a “lightweight” and “RINO.”
Trump answered a series of questions for comment from “60 Minutes” correspondent Norah O’Donnell regarding several claims made by Esper in his book.
As The Political Insider reported, Esper has claimed that the former President inquired on at least two occasions about secretly bombing illegal cartel drug labs in Mexico.
He reiterated that claim in his own “60 Minutes” interview.
“The president pulls me aside on at least a couple of occasions and suggests that maybe we have the U.S. military shoot missiles into Mexico,” he said.
Esper went on to reiterate other claims, including that Trump openly wondered about shooting protesters outside the White House and that he called Cabinet members – including then-Vice President Mike Pence – “f***ing losers.”
Responding to a request for comment from O’Donnell, Trump hammered Mark Esper, oftentimes referring to him by a derogatory nickname, “Yesper.”
Esper told O’Donnell that the former President calls him that with the “insinuation … that I was a ‘yes’ man.”
Responding to allegations that he had sought to shoot protesters and berated Cabinet members, Trump said it was a “complete lie” and that “10 witnesses can back it up.”
“Mark Esper was weak and totally ineffective, and because of it, I had to run the military,” Trump said.
On the matter of suggesting drug cartels in Mexico being bombed, Trump was uncharacteristically short with his response writing: “No comment.”
Take from that what you will.
“Mark Esper was a stiff who was desperate not to lose his job,” added Trump. “He was a lightweight and a figurehead, and I realized it very early on.”
Trump went on to note that he fired Esper because he “was a RINO incapable of leading, and I had to run the military myself.”
In his “60 Minutes” interview, O’Donnell notes that Esper details “how you subverted many of the president’s wishes.”
“People will say you were disloyal,” she challenged.
“I never disobeyed a direct order from the president of the United States,” he replied. “I was fortunate that he often didn’t give direct orders.”
“But otherwise, I did what I thought was best for the nation and for our security, and completely within the authority granted to me under the law.”
What he did do, however, was reportedly ordered a “backchannel” message to reassure China the United States would not be seeking military action in the days leading up to the 2020 presidential election.
That effort by Esper, according to a senior defense official, led to General Mark Milley issuing a remarkable warning to China that if Trump ordered military action against the Communist nation he was “going to call [General Li Zuocheng, Milley’s rank counterpart in China] ahead of time.”
Esper defended Milley’s actions even as some – including Trump – labeled them ‘treason.’
He also outlined how he and Milley had developed a system to stop the Commander-in-Chief from taking action on any military-related matter prior to the 2020 election.
“I come up with this idea,” Esper said. “Actually, Mark Milley and I discuss it – what we call the ‘Four No’s.'”
“The four things we had to prevent from happening between then and the election,” he continued. “And one was no strategic retreats, no unnecessary wars, no politicization of the military, and no misuse of the military.”
It seems fairly obvious that both Esper and Milley would have viewed any military action as being politicization based on their comments and actions from that time.
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