“We could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs, quietly,” Trump suggested, according to the upcoming book “A Sacred Oath,” the Times reported. The former President reasoned that Mexico didn’t “have control” over its own country and that “no one would know it was us,” Esper — who objected at the time — recounted, according to the Times.
A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to the Times’ request for comment.
Esper broke with Trump at various times as defense secretary, including over the then-President’s plans to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan, but the rift deepened in summer 2020 when Esper said he did not support using active-duty troops to quell the large-scale protests across the United States triggered by the police killing of George Floyd.
Esper told the Times on Thursday, “I felt like I was writing for history and for the American people,” and called the former President “an unprincipled person who, given his self-interest, should not be in the position of public service.”