Former President Donald Trump angrily demanded to know why he couldn't order the U.S. military to shoot protestors who filled streets around the White House in June 2020 in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder.
In "A Sacred Oath," Esper confirms previous reporting that in multiple Oval Office meetings during the civil unrest, Trump suggested invoking the Insurrection Act to put U.S. military troops on the streets to quell violence. Esper opposed the move.
Esper describes a meeting in the first week of June, 2020 as "surreal, sitting in front of the Resolute desk, inside the Oval Office, with this idea weighing heavily in the air, and the president red faced and complaining loudly about the protests under way in Washington, D.C."
"Can't you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?" Trump asked, according to the former defense secretary.
"The good news — this wasn't a difficult decision," Esper continues. "The bad news — I had to figure out a way to walk Trump back without creating the mess I was trying to avoid."
Axios reports that the book went through an extensive Pentagon clearance process, including reviews by "nearly three dozen 4-star generals, senior civilians, and some Cabinet members."
The memoir confirms what reporter Michael Bender wrote last year in his book, "Frankly, We Did Win This Election."