Mark Esper’s revelation that Trump wanted to 'shoot' unarmed protesters fits his pattern of 'turning to violence': journalist
In his new book, “A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times,” former Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper has an incredibly disturbing revelation about former President Donald Trump — who, according to Esper, repeatedly called for shooting unarmed protesters following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.
Vanity Fair’s Bess Levin discusses this revelation in a scathing May 2 column, arguing that Esper’s revelation is consistent with other reports showing Trump’s pattern of “turning to violence.”
“Something you’ve probably gleaned over the last six-plus years is that Donald Trump is a big fan of turning to violence when things don’t go his way,” Levin writes. “Obviously, there was the January 6 insurrection to overturn the 2020 election, but before that, the ex-president also urged police officers to knock suspects’ heads against the sides of their squad cars; endorsed assaulting reporters; openly fantasized about ‘Second Amendment people’ preventing the appointment of liberal judges; and told supporters, of a man who’d been ejected from one of his events, ‘I’d like to punch him in the face.’”
Levin continues, “There was also the time he claimed that the police fatally shooting a civilian was on par with a golfer missing a shot, and just last week, we learned that during an October 2021 deposition, he insisted that beating up protesters was justified if they were trying to throw a piece of fruit. So, it was pretty much business as usual to learn, on Monday (May 2), that during the height of the 2020 racial-justice protests, the then-president wanted the military to fire bullets into the people exercising their First Amendment rights.”
During the Summer of 2020, when the George Floyd protests were occurring in Washington, D.C. and many other cities, Trump — according to Esper — asked him, “Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?”
“Obviously, the defense secretary never once entertained the suggestion,” Levin writes. “However, as he was dealing with the mind of a child, he had to come up with a way to explain that the U.S. government doesn’t just shoot protesters.”
In “A Sacred Oath,” Esper writes, “I had to figure out a way to walk Trump back without creating the mess I was trying to avoid.”
Esper, now 58, became secretary of defense for the Trump Administration in July 2019. He lasted until after November 2020, when Trump fired Esper after the presidential election.
“Esper’s first-person account confirms the reporting of journalist Michael Bender, whose book, ‘Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,’ also detailed Trump’s desire to use violence and shoot demonstrators in June 2020,” Levin notes. “According to Bender, Trump insisted, ‘That’s how you’re supposed to handle these people. Crack their skulls!’ He also reportedly said he wanted the military to go in and ‘beat the fuck out’ of the protesters, saying ‘just shoot them’ multiple times.”
Levin wraps up her column by warning that given his history of repeatedly promoting violence, Trump should never be elected president again.
“So yeah, the prospect of all of these high-ranking people at the Pentagon reading the part about Trump wanting to shoot civilians and being like, ‘Yeah, checks out,’ is more than a little concerning,” Levin warns. “Especially given the possibility of his running for office again and, God forbid, winning.”
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