In a jaw-dropping statement, Donald Trump insisted he “had to run the military” when he was president because Defense Secretary Mark Esper was so “weak.”
Trump made the claim in response to an explosive “60 Minutes” interview with Esper, who recounted that he and other military officials had to repeatedly “swat down” Trump’s “dangerous” ideas every few weeks when he was in the White House.
Esper said the former president suggested secretly firing missiles into Mexico to destroy drug labs and wanted military troops to shoot racial justice protesters who took to the streets after the police killing of George Floyd.
The former defense secretary also shared that he and other officials helped prevent “really bad things, dangerous things” in the Trump administration “that could have taken the country in a dark direction.”
In a statement that “60 Minutes” shared on Twitter on Sunday, Trump denied a number of Esper’s claims but notably declined to comment on the plan to hit Mexico with missiles. “Mark Esper was weak and totally ineffective, and because of it, I had to run the military,” the Trump statement reads.
Critics immediately pointed out that Trump had never even served in the military, claiming a medical deferment for “bone spurs” that his former attorney Michael Cohen said were fake. As president, Trump also tried to defund the military and sought to undermine NATO.
He once told radio host Howard Stern that his own “personal Vietnam” was avoiding sexually transmitted diseases while sleeping with various women. Stern quipped that Trump had characterized “vaginas” as “potential landmines.”
Trump fired Esper in November 2020 after the defense secretary publicly said he did not support using military troops against the wave of Black Lives Matter protesters.
Esper’s book about his experiences in the White House, “A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Defense Secretary in Extraordinary Times,” is out on Tuesday.
Former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon vowed revenge on Esper on Monday for his revelations, threatening on his podcast: “Esper, you’re going to be held accountable for this, Bro.”
Esper could not immediately be reached for comment, but others had thoughts.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
hartford car insurance shop car insurance best car insurance quotes best online car insurance get auto insurance quotes auto insurance quotes most affordable car insurance car insurance providers car insurance best deals best insurance quotes get car insurance online best comprehensive car insurance best cheap auto insurance auto policy switching car insurance car insurance quotes auto insurance best affordable car insurance online auto insurance quotes az auto insurance commercial auto insurance instant car insurance buy car insurance online best auto insurance companies best car insurance policy best auto insurance vehicle insurance quotes aaa insurance quote auto and home insurance quotes car insurance search best and cheapest car insurance best price car insurance best vehicle insurance aaa car insurance quote find cheap car insurance new car insurance quote auto insurance companies get car insurance quotes best cheap car insurance car insurance policy online new car insurance policy get car insurance car insurance company best cheap insurance car insurance online quote car insurance finder comprehensive insurance quote car insurance quotes near me get insurance