Former Secretary of Defense claims Trump 'threatens our democracy' and hopes he doesn't run in 2024

On Special Report With Bret Baier Monday, former President Trump’s Secretary of Defense Mark Esper appeared to promote his new book, A Sacred Oath. Like other books released by former Trump administration officials, Esper’s contains revelations that would be shocking coming out of any other administration. One such case is Esper’s claim that Trump wanted to call up active duty military to shoot protestors in the summer of 2020. That’s just one such example of what has shaped Esper’s view of his former boss.

“Do you think Donald Trump was a threat to democracy?” Baier asked. “I think that given the events of January 6th, given how he’s undermined the election results, he incited people to come to D.C., stirred them up that morning and failed to call them off,” Esper said, “to me, that threatens our democracy.” “So, yes?” Baier followed up. Esper replied, “What else can you conclude, Bret?”

And Esper would rather not see Trump as the Republican nominee for president come 2024.

“So do you think he is going to run for president again?” Baier asked. “I don’t know. I hope he doesn’t,” Esper said. “I hope that the Republican base can figure out that while President Trump pushed a lot of traditional Republican ideas…there are other candidates out there that could run that could do it without dividing the people, without creating such tension within the country, and do it by growing the base as well. I think there are candidates out there that can do that.”

Video Transcript

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BRET BAIER: Do you think Donald Trump was a threat to democracy?

MARK ESPER: I think that given the events of January 6th, given how he has undermined the election results, he incited people to come to DC, stirred them up that morning and failed to call them off, to me, that threatens our democracy.

KYLIE MAR: Mark Esper, Secretary of defense under former President, Donald Trump, appeared on Special Report with Bret Baier, Monday, to promote his new book, "A sacred Oath." And he made clear that he now sees his former boss as a threat to democracy. Esper cited Trump's culpability in the Jan 6th insurrection and his constant lies about the 2020 election as reasons why. And Esper doesn't want to see Trump run again in 2024.

MIKE ESPER: I hope he doesn't. I hope that the Republican base can figure out that while President Donald Trump pushed a lot of traditional Republican ideas, there are other candidates out there that could run. They could do it without dividing the people, without creating such tension within the country.

KYLIE MAR: According to Esper, one example of the threat Trump posed to democracy was his desire to call in active duty military to shoot protesters in the summer of 2020. Esper and other administration officials had to talk him out of it.

MIKE ESPER: I said I would never do anything illegal, immoral, or unethical.

BRET BAIER: But you suggest that you were being asked?

MIKE ESPER: It was being suggested by the president, and we successfully push back on that. We being Attorney General, Barr, General Milley, myself, and walked him back from that notion.

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