By Peter Weber, The Week
In the summer of 2020, unhappy about the flow of drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border, then-President Donald Trump asked his defense secretary, Mark Esper, if the U.S. military could “shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs,” Esper writes in his forthcoming memoir of working in the Trump administration. Trump made this request at least twice, and after Esper pushed back with several objections, Trump suggested “we could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs, quietly,” and “no one would know it was us,” Esper writes in A Sacred Oath, The New York Times reports.
Esper writes “he would have thought it was a joke had he not been staring Mr. Trump in the face,” the Times reports.
While straining to be fair to Trump and giving him any credit he deserves, “Esper paints a portrait of someone not in control of his emotions or his thought process throughout 2020,” especially after his first impeachment trial, the Times reports. He also “singles out officials whom he considered erratic or dangerous influences” on Trump, and adviser Stephen Miller is “near the top of the list.”
In an interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell set to air Sunday night, Esper says he was “flabbergasted” by Miller’s suggestion to send 250,000 U.S. troops to the Mexico border. “I think he’s joking,” Esper recounts. “And then I turn around, and I look at him in these deadpan eyes. It’s clear that he is not joking.”