Gen. Mark Milley 'this close' to quitting over Trump demand for troops to shoot protesters: book
US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley (Mandel NGAN AFP)

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, nearly quit on the spot over former President Donald Trump's order to use military troops to violently crack down on protests over the police murder of George Floyd.

Former defense secretary Mark Esper, in his new book A Sacred Oath, revealed Trump's request to Milley for "10,000 troops" to put down the demonstrations -- or possibly even shoot protesters -- and the general was "shaken" by the former president's suggestions, reported CNN.

"After receiving this phone call, Milley informed Esper of the conversation," the network reported. "Milley's face, Esper said, was 'ashen,' as he relayed the conversation with Trump."

Trump called both officials to the White House the following day for a meeting about the protests, and while Esper does not describe what they said, he described the discussion as "loud, contentious, and unreal."

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Milley told Epser afterward that he was "this close" to resigning on the spot, the former defense secretary wrote.

Esper told CNN on Monday that he considered resigning, as well, but remained on the job out of fear that Trump would replace him with someone who would carry out his impulsive orders.