Esper says Trump asked to shoot missiles into Mexico to "destroy" drug labs
Driving the news: Trump, concerned about drug cartels, asked at least twice in the summer of 2020 if the U.S. military could "shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs," according to excerpts of the memoir quoted by the Times.
- "We could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs, quietly. ... No one would know it was us," Esper recounts him saying.
- Despite Esper's objections, Trump pressed the issue, arguing that he would deny responsibility for the strike. "They don’t have control of their own country," the former defense secretary recalls him adding.
- Esper writes that he would have thought Trump was joking if he had not been staring him right in the face, per the Times.
The big picture: Esper's book, "A Sacred Oath," which comes out on Tuesday, contains vivid, first-person revelations by a top Cabinet member and bolsters outsiders' accounts of extreme dysfunction in Trump's White House, Axios' Mike Allen writes.
- He also writes in the book about a conversation in which Trump asks about shooting protesters who had rallied outside the White House after George Floyd's death.
- Trump fired Esper after the 2020 election.
Worth noting: "A Sacred Oath" was vetted at the highest levels of the Pentagon, reviewed in whole or in part by nearly three dozen 4-star generals, senior civilians and some Cabinet members.
Go deeper: Esper says Trump wanted to shoot protesters