Former President Trump proposed launching missiles into Mexico to destroy drug labs run by cartels, according to an upcoming memoir from Mark Esper, his former secretary of Defense.
The New York Times first reported the news, gaining an advance copy of Esper’s memoir, “A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times,” which is slated for a release on Tuesday.
According to Esper, Trump raised the idea of bombing the drug labs at least twice in the summer of 2020. Trump told Esper the U.S. should “shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs.”
“They don’t have control of their own country,” Trump told Esper, according to the Times’ review of the memoir.
When Esper objected, Trump responded “no one would know it was us” and “we could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs, quietly.”
Esper at first assumed it was a joke but thought otherwise as he looked at the president, according to The Times.
Esper served as secretary of Defense from 2019 to November 2020, when Trump fired him following disputes over police brutality and racial justice protests in the summer of that year.
Trump had threatened to deploy active-duty troops to address the protests, but Esper came out against the proposal publicly, drawing the president’s ire.
“I serve the country in deference to the Constitution, so I accept your decision to replace me,” Esper said in a letter to Trump shortly after he was fired.
In his memoir, Esper wrote that Trump proposed deploying 10,000 troops in Washington, D.C., on June 1, 2020, according to the Times.
“Can’t you just shoot them?” Trump asked, in Esper’s recollection.
The 45th president concerned Esper during his stint in the tumultuous administration because Trump seemed erratic and demanded loyalty from his Cabinet at all costs.
Trump also seemed obsessed about his reelection campaign, the Times reported. Esper feared Trump might have used the military to seize ballot boxes during the 2020 election.
The concerns about Trump’s leadership are not new, as several of his former Cabinet members have also alleged Trump ruled with an iron fist and proposed erratic or unhinged ideas.
Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo privately raised the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office following the Jan. 6 riots.
Esper did not believe Trump should have been removed under the 25th Amendment, according to the Times.