Opinion: Trump can’t resist talking of violence

Opinion: Trump can't resist talking of violence

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper says former President Donald Trump proposed shooting demonstrators during the 2020 protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In a forthcoming book, the former Pentagon chief confirms a previous report from Michael Bender of The Wall Street Journal, according to Axios. He also adds to an ample body of evidence that the former President is remarkably preoccupied with the use of violence in service to his causes. “Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?” Esper attributes this statement to Trump as he writes about the summer of 2020 in “A Sacred Oath.” Also reported by Axios, Esper recalls that his refusal to push the military on this idea “wasn’t a difficult decision.” He decided, in the same period, to oppose Trump’s musings to loose the military on protesters under the 1807 Insurrection Act. In the context of Trump’s record, is there anything surprising in Esper’s recollections? Trump is the man who, also in 2020, called protesters in Minneapolis “thugs” and warned, via Twitter, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” (This statement echoed a onetime Miami police chief who used the same words during riots in 1967 and added, “We don’t mind being accused of police brutality.”) Trump first referred to gun violence in a political context when he infamously declared, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” He also made a veiled […]

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