A new report from the New York Times claims that former President Donald Trump wanted to send as many as a quarter of a million American troops to guard the southern border from undocumented immigrants.
According to the Times, then-Secretary of Defense Mark Esper believed that the plan was "outrageous" and scrambled to talk the former president out of it when he floated it last year.
The plan reportedly was concocted by former Trump aide Stephen Miller, an immigration hardliner known for promoting extreme and cruel measures to deter immigration, including the separation of migrant parents from their children.
The Times' sources say that Esper "was enraged by Mr. Miller's plan" and that he also worried that "deploying so many troops to the border would undermine American military readiness around the world," as the deployment would account for more than half of the active duty United States Army and roughly one-sixth of the American armed forces overall.
Additionally, reports the Times, Esper got Trump to back off a plan to send American military personnel into Mexico to kill cartel leaders.
"Mr. Trump hesitated only after aides suggested that to most of the world, military raids inside Mexico could look like the United States was committing an act of war against one of its closest allies, which is also its biggest trading partner," reports the Times.