Former President Donald Trump raged at former Vice President Mike Pence and other senior administration officials after military leaders refused to shoot down protesters following the police murder of George Floyd.
The former president suggested shooting protesters "in the legs or something" in the summer of 2020, according to a new book by former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said Trump angrily berated him and other senior officials when they refused to go along with his proposition, reported The Guardian.
“‘You are losers!’ the president railed. ‘You are all fucking losers!’"
Esper said the president often used that type of language, but he said the episode stood out because he had never seen Trump that angry or direct such venom at people in the same room -- which at the time included Pence, attorney general William Barr and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“He repeated the foul insults again, this time directing his venom at the vice-president as well, who sat quietly, stone-faced, in the chair at the far end of the semi-circle closest to the Rose Garden," Esper wrote. "I never saw him yell at the vice-president before, so this really caught my attention.”
Barr described the same "tantrum" in his own book, but did not include the details about Pence or the proposal to shoot protesters.
“Trump shouted, ‘None of you have any backbone to stand up to the violence,’ and suggested we were fine with people ‘burning down our cities,'" Esper wrote.
Trump did not order the shootings, but he made clear that's what he wanted to be done.
“[He was] waiting, it seemed, for one of us to yield and simply agree," Esper wrote. "That wasn’t going to happen.”