Former President Donald Trump reportedly urged senior military brass to fire on protesters who flooded the streets in the summer of 2020, following the police killing of George Floyd.
That’s according to a new book by former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who recalls Trump asking deputies during a June 2020 Oval Office meeting, “Can’t you just shoot them?” Just shoot them in the legs or something? »
The alarming clip, first reported by Axios on Monday, details a “surreal” scene at the Resolute Desk, “with this idea hanging heavily in the air, and the president red-faced and loudly complaining about the ongoing protests in Washington, DC”
“The good news — it wasn’t a hard decision,” Esper writes. “The bad news – I had to find a way to back Trump down without creating the mess I was trying to avoid.”
Esper’s account aligns with other reports from the summer of 2020, when Trump sent unidentified federal squads into cities such as Portland, Oregon, where they kidnapped protesters and wreaked havoc. Trump then described the violence as coming from the Black Lives Matter movement.
In fact, the opposite was true: A statistical analysis by professors from Harvard and the University of Connecticut found that BLM protests were “remarkably non-violent” and that when there were violence, it was often perpetrated by the police or counter-protesters.
Trump reportedly told his advisers he wanted soldiers to “beat the shit out of” BLM protesters, according to a book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender.
Bender also reported that Trump wanted federal squads to “shoot” protesters and “crack their skulls,” or at least “shoot them in the leg — or maybe in the foot, but be tough on them. “.
Esper publicly broke with Trump in early June 2020 over the president’s desire to use the Insurrection Act to send US armed forces to states to act as domestic law enforcement.
Trump fired Esper in November 2020 after losing the election.