Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Monday that the actions of former President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election—and on January 6, 2021—represented a threat to American democracy.
“I think that, given the events of January 6, given how he has undermined the election results,” Esper said. “He incited people to come to D.C., stirred them up that morning, and failed to call them off, to me, that threatens our democracy.”
In an interview Monday, Esper told Fox News anchor Bret Baier that he hopes Trump does not choose to run again in 2024. “I don’t know. I hope he doesn’t. I hope that the Republican base can figure out that, while President Trump pushed a lot of traditional Republican ideas, right, smaller government, less taxes, a stronger military, border security, all those things, that there are other candidates out there that could run that could do it without dividing the people, without creating such tension within the country, and do it by growing the base as well. I think there are candidates out there that can do that.”
Esper’s new book about his time in the Trump White House, “A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times,” has already made news ahead of its release Tuesday, with The New York Times
Esper, who was fired by President Trump just days after the 2020 election, told NPR that during the summer of that year, Mr. Trump asked about shooting protesters amid the unrest following the death of George Floyd.
“We reached that point in the conversation where he looked frankly at [Joint Chiefs of Staff] Gen. [Mark] Milley and said, ‘Can’t you just shoot them, just shoot them in the legs or something?’ … It was a suggestion and a formal question. And we were just all taken aback at that moment as this issue just hung very heavily in the air.”