Former US Defence Secretary and Pentagon head Mark Esper said through his soon-to-be-published memoirs that two years ago, concerned with an increasing flow of drugs across the southern border, then-US President Donald Trump considered a military strike on Mexican cartels by launching missiles at their drug laboratories, The New York Times reported on 5 May.
“They don’t have control of their own country. We could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs, quietly. No one would know it was us,” the former Pentagon chief claimed Trump had said.
In 2020, US Customs and Border Protection reported the seizure of 706,800 lb (pounds) (320 metric tons) of various drugs at the southern border. The Mexican government has been fighting the cartels for decades, and according to Justice in Mexico, a US-based activist group, in 2019 drug-related violence in Mexico claimed the lives of 34,588 people.
The former Pentagon chief was reportedly rendered speechless when the president shared his idea for combating drug crime in Mexico. The former official wrote that he would have thought it was a joke had he not been staring Trump in the face. But Esper betrayed his pro-Democrat leanings when he described Trump as someone not in control of his emotions, calling him “an unprincipled person who, given his self-interest, should not be in the position of public service.”
The former official says he considered resigning from his post several times but decided to stay so that he could counterbalance the “dangerous ideas” of the Trump administration.
A Republican politician from Pennsylvania, Mark Esper served as defence secretary for just four months until he was fired by Donald Trump in November 2020, weeks before the presidential election. Back then, the media reported that Trump’s decision, which he announced in an abrupt Twitter post, had to do with the secretary’s refusal to use troops on American streets to counter Black Lives Matter protests.
Esper’s book will be published on Tuesday. The New York Times says it offers a stunningly candid perspective on key episodes of the Trump presidency, including some that were unknown or underexplored. So far, Donald Trump’s team has not commented on the publication.