Former U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly suggested shooting protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement in the legs during the protests that followed the death of George Floyd in May 2020 at the hands of a police officer, his former defense secretary, Mark Esper, revealed in his latest memoir.
"Can't you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?" quoted Esper as saying, claiming that such words were uttered by Trump during a tense meeting they held in the Oval Office last June 1, 2020.
These statements are part of 'A Sacred Oath,' the new memoir by Esper, who publicly opposed the former president's idea of deploying the Army to contain the strong protests that erupted during the summer of 2020 after Floyd's death.
"I had to find a way to push Trump back without creating the mess I was trying to avoid," the former defense secretary wrote, recalling how the former White House tenant bristled during that meeting.
That moment, he said, "was surreal. Sitting in front of the desk (...), inside the Oval Office, with this idea weighing heavily in the air, and the president red-faced and complaining loudly about the protests in Washington DC," portrayed Esper, who defended to Trump that the deployment of troops is always a "last resort," Axios reports.
This episode recounted by Esper is similar to the one told by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Army, General Mark Milley, who assured 'The Wall Street Journal' reporter Michael Bender that Trump asked the forces of order to "break skulls" during those protests.
The same journalist reported that the then president repeatedly demanded in the Oval Office that protesters be shot.