(Headline USA) Former President Donald Trump blamed his former Defense Secretary Mark Esper for preventing him from invoking the Insurrection Act to shut down Black Lives Matter riots during the summer of 2020, according to a new book by Esper.
Esper publicly spoke out against Trump’s plan to invoke the law and send troops into leftist cities where rioters were burning down buildings and looting stores, arguing that military action should only be used as a “last resort,” according to the Washington Examiner.
“I say this not only as secretary of defense, but also as a former soldier and a former member of the National Guard, the option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire situations. We are not in one of those situations now,” Esper said at the Pentagon podium on June 3, 2020.
“I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”
After the June 3 press conference, Trump blasted Esper for taking military action off the table and making him look “weak.”
“You betrayed me,” Trump said during a meeting with Esper, “I’m the president not you!” He added, “I’m the president. It’s my prerogative,” and said, it’s “my call, not yours.”
“You took away my authority,” the former president added. When Esper pushed back on the notion, Trump responded, “That’s not your position to do.”
Esper allegedly responded, “I do not believe anything that has happened requires invocation of the Insurrection Act. It would make matters worse and would be terrible for the country.”
Trump disagreed, arguing that “the protests are making us look weak.” But because of Esper’s public statement, “I can’t use the Insurrection Act.”
Esper said this “wasn’t completely correct, of course, but I was glad he felt that way, and wasn’t about to disabuse him of his conclusion.”
Trump fired Esper in November 2020 after the presidential election. The former president has since blasted Esper as an incompetent “lightweight.”
“Mark Esper was a stiff who was desperate not to lose his job,” he said in a statement last week.
“He would do anything I wanted, that’s why I called him ‘Yesper,’” Trump added.
“He was a lightweight and figurehead, and I realized it very early on. Mark Esper was weak and totally ineffective and because of it, I had to run the military.”