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Donald Trump is hitting back at claims by former Defense Secretary Mark Esper that the former president wanted to shoot protesters who filled the streets around the White House during the June 2020 protests.
Esper made the claims in his forthcoming book, “A Sacred Oath,” writing that Trump also wanted to deploy 10,000 troops to Washington, DC to quell the protests.
“He says, ‘Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something.’ And he’s suggesting that’s what we should do, that we should bring in the troops and shoot the protesters,” Esper, who was fired by Trump days after his 2020 election defeat, told AFP. 60 Minutes host Norah O’Donnell on the Oval Office meeting. June 1, 2020.
Trump called Esper’s claims a “complete lie” in a statement to 60 Minutes, saying 10 witnesses would support him.
“Mark Esper was weak and completely ineffective, and because of that I had to lead the army. I eliminated ISIS, Qasem Soleimani, al-Baghdadi, rebuilt the army with 2.5 trillion dollars, created Space Force, and much more.” Trump said in the statement. “Mark Esper was a badass who was desperate not to lose his job.” Trump added, “He would do anything I wanted, that’s why I called him ‘Yesper’.”
Esper’s book was reviewed by nearly three dozen 4-star generals, civilians and Cabinet members, some of whom were present at the relevant meetings, according to Axios, which originally reported the excerpt earlier this week.
Trump said during a press conference at the Rose Garden on the evening of June 1, 2020 that he was “sending thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military and law enforcement personnel to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and wanton destruction of property”, which would necessitate the invocation of the Insurrection Act of 1807.
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It came at the height of protests in the spring of 2020 over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, with thousands of protesters taking to the streets in the capital and other cities across America, some of them set fire to and vandalized property. .
“That really caught my attention, and I thought – we’re in a different place now. He’s finally going to give the direct order to deploy paratroopers to the streets of Washington, DC And I’m thinking with weapons and bayonets. That would be horrible,” Esper told 60 Minutes.
Trump said Esper’s claims that he wanted to send 10,000 troops to the streets of the capital are “wrong.”
“I wanted to send at least 10,000 troops for Jan. 6 because I knew a lot of people were coming to DC that day to protest the corrupt 2020 presidential election. Nancy Pelosi and the DC mayor turned me down. “said the former president.
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Esper made several other explosive claims in his book, including that Trump offered to fire missiles at cartels in Mexico and wanted to kill a senior Iranian military officer shortly before the 2020 election.
Asked about the claim that he wanted to target cartels with missiles, Trump told 60 Minutes simply: “No comment.”
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