Ex-Defense Secretary Esper Blasts Trump, Calls Him a ‘Threat to Democracy’

Exactly three years after the January 6th Capitol attacks, Trump’s former Defense Secretary called the ex-president a “threat to democracy.”

Trump, a threat to democracy

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In a recent interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta, Trump’s former Pentagon chief, Mark Esper, called his former boss a “threat to democracy” and everything that “makes America great.”

Power-hungry Trump

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The former Defense Secretary went on to call January 6th a “tragic day in our nation’s history” and shared his unease with Trump’s handling of military power.

An agenda of revenge

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Esper also expressed concern about Trump’s motivations and the means he may use to achieve his aims. “He’s spoken about his agenda being one of revenge,” he said. “That should send a chill down our spines to think about how he might weaponize DOJ and other departments.”

Trump fires Esper

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Despite previously working for Trump, Mark Esper has always had a conflicted relationship with the former president. Their working partnership ended when Trump fired Esper back in 2020 with a tweet from the Republican that simply stated, “Chris will do a GREAT job! Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service.”

Esper keeps cool

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Esper was respectful enough in his closing letter to the president, which read, “I serve the country in deference to the Constitution, so I accept your decision to replace me.” However, the former Secretary of Defense has since spoken out against Trump’s actions on multiple occasions.

Selfish Trump

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Back in 2022, Esper called Trump “unfit for office.” According to Esper, there are several superior candidates to Trump who do not carry his level of “baggage” and “self-centeredness.”

Trump’s shocking insults

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In Esper’s memoir A Sacred Oath, he criticized Trump for calling his senior advisors “losers.” “This wasn’t the first time I had heard him use this language,” he wrote, “but not with this much anger, and never directed at people in a room with him, let alone toward Barr, Milley and me.”

Trump calls for violence

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The book also exposed Trump’s pro-violence approach to protesters. According to Esper, the former president asked his advisors whether troops could shoot racial injustice protesters. Trump reportedly asked, “Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?”

Offense is the best defense

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In 2024, the ex-Defense Secretary’s feelings toward Trump appear to remain largely unchanged. Speaking to Acosta, Esper suggested that the ex-president may make use of Trump-supporting state governors willing to offer their national guards to defend him from protesters if he is re-elected.

Trump allies attack

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Esper is far from the only former Trump ally who has since spoken out against the Republican. In his 2018 resignation letter, former Defense Secretary James Mattis wrote that “concrete solutions and strategic advice, especially keeping faith with our allies, no longer resonated.”

Angry Trump called out

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Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions also fought back against Trump when the ex-president criticized Sessions’s recusal from the Russia investigation and endorsed his Senate primary opponent. “Look, I know your anger, but recusal was required by law. I did my duty & you’re damn fortunate I did. It protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration. Your personal feelings don’t dictate who Alabama picks as their senator, the people of Alabama do,” he tweeted.

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