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Donald Trump wanted his team to shoot Black Lives Matter protests outside the White House the month after George Floyd’s death, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper reveals in his upcoming book.
‘Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?’ Esper claims the then-president said.
He wrote in his book, according to Axios, that the first week of June 2020 ‘was surreal, sitting in front of the Resolute desk, inside the Oval Office, with this idea weighing heavily in the air, and the president red faced and complaining loudly about the protests under way in Washington, D.C.’
‘The good news — this wasn’t a difficult decision,’ Esper continued of Trump’s idea to shoot protesters. ‘The bad news — I had to figure out a way to walk Trump back without creating the mess I was trying to avoid.’
The then-president’s proposal to quell rioting in the city came as demonstrators filled the streets around the White House just a few months after COVID-19 shook the nation and civil rights riots broke out in major cities after Floyd’s death.
Trump-era Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (right) reveals in an upcoming book that then-President Donald Trump wanted to shoot BLM protesters outside the White House. ‘Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?’ Esper details
Black Lives Matter rioters and protesters surrounded the White House in the weeks and months following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officers. Pictured: Protesters rally outside the White House on May 31, 2020
Esper enraged Trump in June 2020 by publicly stating he opposed trying to stop the protests by invoking the Insurrection Act, which is an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil.
The new memoir, A Sacred Oath, will hit shelves on May 10.
Esper’s book A Sacred Oath will hit shelves May 10 after being delayed following several rounds of highest-level reviews at the Pentagon
The former Cabinet member’s book confirms many outside reports of extreme internal dysfunction in Trump’s White House.
From 2017-2019, Esper was Secretary of the Army and was brought on to head the Pentagon in July 2019 – after former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis resigned over conflicts with the president on how to deal with threats from Russia and China.
Esper only served as Defense secretary for one year and four months before he was fired by Trump shortly after the 2020 election.
Journalist Michael Bender’s book released last year, Frankly, We Did Win This Election, confirms that during heated Oval Office meetings, Trump repeatedly called for law enforcement to shoot protesters.
Protests and riots broke out in summer 2020 after video of Floyd’s death emerged when police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on the back of his neck for minutes during an arrest.
Esper is is pictured walking with Trump and other Cabinet members across Lafayette Square On June 1, 2020
The square was cleared of protesters by law enforcement in riot gear using tear gas and rubber bullets
Trump had a photo op in front of St. John’s Church, which was boarded up after BLM rioters set fire to the church adjacent to the White House
New York City, Minneapolis, the District of Columbia and other U.S. cities saw mass destruction as a result when BLM rioters took the streets – looting, burning and rioting against law enforcement.
On June 1, 2020, Trump had his team clear out Lafayette Square outside the North Lawn of the White House so he could walk across the street with his Cabinet for a photo op in front of St. John’s Church, which had burn damage from rioters.
Minutes before a speech by Trump in the White House Rose Garden – preceding the now-infamous walk – officers in riot gear advanced on the protesters at the direction of then-Attorney General Bill Barr.
Officers used chemical irritants like tear gas and pepper balls, sting ball grenades, flash grenades, smoke canisters, riot shields, batons and even rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
Esper’s memoir about his time in the White House and as the head of the Pentagon was vetted at the highest levels.
Axios notes that it was reviewed by nearly three dozen 4-star generals, senior civilians and even some Cabinet members. Some who saw the book before it was published had witnessed many of the same things Esper did.
Throughout the process, Esper ended up suing the Pentagon over a dispute over classification.
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