Esper revealed that he learned about Trump’s plan from Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to his upcoming memoir, “A Sacred Oath.” Trump allegedly did not inform the Pentagon of his plan to “deploy a couple hundred thousand” members of NORTHCOM, a combatant command that covers North America.
However, the plan never came to fruition because Esper and others at the Pentagon resisted working with Trump on the matter.
NORTHCOM met with Department of Homeland Security officials to coordinate a plan, Esper wrote, but shortly afterwards Esper told Milley to “shut down the planning, and let them know there was to be no further engagement with DHS on this matter.”
“If anyone at Homeland Security has an issue with my order, then they are welcome to call me direct,” Esper told Milley.
Esper said he had another conversation about the plan with Trump adviser Stephen Miller, who said, “There is another caravan coming from the south, and we need to stop it.”
Esper responded, “I haven’t seen any reports about another caravan, and I’m confident DHS can handle it as they’ve done in the past,” to which Miller retorted, “This is a big one. [Customs and Border Protection] can’t do it. We need to deploy the military. I’m already talking to folks at DHS.”
Esper claimed the plan to send troops to the border was “simply outrageous, unless you’re Stephen Miller,” whom he described as a “slight, unremarkable person with a deadpan gaze that suggested a real lack of humor or warmth.”
In his memoir, Esper also admits shutting down an idea from Trump to “shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs.”
“Mr. President, we could do that, and as much as I want to stop these drugs too, shooting missiles into Mexico would be illegal,” Esper told Trump.