'A Complete Lie': Trump Slams Claims by 'Weak' Esper That He 'Wanted to Shoot at Protesters' in 2020

© AP Photo / Chris SewardFormer President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Selma, N.C.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally Saturday, April 9, 2022, in Selma, N.C. - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.05.2022
Former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, who was “terminated” by then-president Donald Trump after he lost the election in November 2020, promises that his forthcoming book, 'A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times', will be replete with “shocking details” about his role in the administration of the 45th POTUS.
Former president Donald Trump has shot down as a “complete lie” statements made by ex-Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who claimed in his forthcoming book, 'A Sacred Oath' that the 45th POTUS had wanted to shoot demonstrators milling around the White House during protests in June 2020 triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

"Mark Esper was weak and totally ineffective, and because of it, I had to run the military. I took out ISIS*, Qasem Soleimani, al-Baghdadi, rebuilt the military with $2.5 trillion, created Space Force, and so much more," Trump said in a statement to CBS show 60 Minutes.

According to Trump, Mark Esper had been “a stiff who was desperate not to lose his job".
"He would do anything I wanted, that's why I called him ‘Yesper'," added the former Republican president, who insisted that at least 10 witnesses could corroborate his account.
As for Esper's other claim that the former president had wanted to send 10,000 troops into the streets of Washington after protests there and in other American cities turned violent, accompanied by arson and vandalism, Trump insisted it was "wrong."

"I wanted to send at least 10,000 troops for 6 January, because I knew many people were coming to Washington that day to protest the corrupt Presidential Election of 2020. Nancy Pelosi and the DC Mayor turned me down," Trump said.

Indeed, Donald Trump gave the aforementioned press conference in the White House's Rose Garden on 1 June 2020, as protests across the US entered their seventh day. They kicked off after a black man, George Floyd, died on 25 May in Minneapolis, Minnesota after being pinned to the ground by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin. Several videos of the arrest showed Chauvin holding his knee on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds despite Floyd saying he could not breathe. Chauvin was subsequently charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
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Donald Trump described the looting and vandalism that accompanied the protests as "domestic terror" and said he had requested every governor to deploy the National Guard "in sufficient numbers that we 'dominate' the streets".
"As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property," he told reporters at the time.
Trump’s plan to use active duty military personnel to perform civilian law enforcement would have required him to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act.
The law governing the use of military troops within the US to quell violence or rebellion gives the president the power to decide whether circumstances warrant the use of federal troops.
Esper, who was fired by Trump on Twitter with the curt announcement that he had been "terminated" shortly after his 2020 election loss to Democrat rival Joe Biden, has previously offered his account of that Oval Office meeting on 1 June 2020.
He wrote in his book that not only had Donald Trump been eager to deploy 10,000 troops in Washington, DC to quell the protests, but was not averse to having firepower used to suppress them.

"He says, 'Can't you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something.' And he's suggesting that that's what we should do, that we should bring in the troops and shoot the protesters," stated Esper on 60 Minutes as he was touting his new tome, due to come out on 10 May.

"It really caught my attention, and I thought, that we're at a different spot now. He's gonna finally give a direct order to deploy paratroopers into the streets of Washington, DC. And I'm thinking with weapons and bayonets. This would be horrible," added Esper.

‘We Had to Swat 'Em Down’

Esper's book, 'A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times', offers up several other explosive claims, which he elaborated on in his Sunday interview with CBS.
“It's important to our country, it's important to the republic, the American people, that they understand what was going on in this very consequential period,” stated Esper.
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The former Defense Secretary prided himself on having been instrumental in preventing a series of “dangerous things that could have taken the country in a dark direction,” including military action against Iran and Venezuela.

“At various times, folks in the White House are proposing to take military action against Venezuela. To strike Iran. At one point, somebody proposed we blockade Cuba. These ideas would happen every few weeks. Something like this would come up and we'd have to swat 'em down,” claimed Esper, suggesting that he had done the “swatting” together with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley.

Esper claimed that, along with Milley they had come up with a “four 'No'” system to thwart “crazy” ideas emanating from the White House.
“[There were] four things we had to prevent from happening between then and the election... and one was no strategic retreats, no unnecessary wars, no politicisation of the military, and no misuse of the military. And so, as we went through the next five to six months, that became the metric by which we would measure things,” Esper claims.
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Esper added that Trump also came up with the idea of firing missiles into Mexico to destroy cartel drug labs there, insisting that “No one would know it was us”.

“And we would have this private discussion where I'd say, 'Mr President, I understand the motive… We can't do that. It would violate international law. It would be terrible for our neighbours to the South',” Esper said on CBS, citing a passage in his book.

According to the former Trump official, he had been “reluctant” to tell this story as people would accuse him of “making it up".
When asked what he thought about this claim made by Esper, 60 Minutes cited Trump as saying, "No comment".
*Daesh, also known as ISIS/IS/Islamic State, is a terrorist group banned in many countries, including Russia.
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