President Donald Trump suggested that authorities shoot demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd, former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper claimed on Sunday during an interview on “60 Minutes.”
Esper claimed that Trump became increasingly angry by the protests occurring outside of the White House in the summer of 2020.
“He says, ‘Can't you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something,'” Esper said. “And he's suggesting that that's what we should do, that we should bring in the troops and shoot the protesters.”
In a statement to “60 Minutes,” Trump denied the claims.
While protesters gathered outside the White House, protesters were met with flashbangs and teargas so Trump could visit a church near the White House that was set on fire the night before. The actions were condemned by Trump’s previous Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis wrote to the Atlantic.
Esper also claimed that Trump’s solution to drug cartels was to bomb labs in Mexico.
“The president pulls me aside on at least a couple of occasions and suggests that maybe we have the U.S. military shoot missiles into Mexico,” Esper said on Sunday.
Esper said he had to explain to Trump that doing so would be a violation of international law.
Esper served as Trump’s defense secretary starting in July 2019. He was fired just two days after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election.