Former President Donald Trump suggested one way to deter protesters in 2020 was to shoot them, according to a new memoir.
Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper accused the former president of suggesting violence in response to demonstrators lining up around the White House during protests following the death of George Floyd, according to an excerpt obtained by Axios. Esper’s book, A Sacred Oath, will be released on May 10.
“Can’t you just shoot them?” Esper recorded Trump asking. “Just shoot them in the legs or something?”
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Esper said the president was “red faced” and “complaining loudly” about protests breaking out in Washington, D.C., when he suggested the brutal response. Besides Esper, other Cabinet members, four-star generals, and civilians were in the room during Trump’s outburst, according to the report.
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Pentagon officials reviewed the book before its publication, and Esper sued the Defense Department during the process, claiming officials were withholding information improperly. Esper dropped his lawsuit in February.