Mark T. Esper was President Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Army for 14 months and then Secretary of Defense for 19 months until Trump fired him on November 9, 2020, right after Trump lost re-election. Esper’s new book, A Sacred Oath, is one of the more revealing books to be released lately by especially Trump White House insiders.
It is obvious to me that Mark T. Esper is a man you can believe. So, you can trust what he’s saying in this book. Trump has responded, as he always does to his critics, by calling Esper names, such as “a stiff,” “lightweight,” and “weak,” the latter being Donald Trump’s favorite go-to word for his critics.
See what I say in my book, Bible Predicts Trump Fall, about Donald Trump all his life calling people “weak” who criticize him. First Lady-To-Be, Melania, Trump’s wife, had said proudly of her husband back in August, 2016, on the campaign trail, that when someone verbally attacks him, “He will punch back ten times harder.”
I believe if Donald Trump had lived in Israel in the time of Jesus of Nazareth and knew about him, The Donald would have called Jesus “weak” more than anyone. Why? Jesus began his famous Sermon on the Mount by saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” and “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5.3, 5 NRSV)..
To be perfectly blunt, Donald Trump is a child in a man’s suit! But actually, that is an insult to children. As I stated constantly on my blog, and it is now in my book, during Trump’s presidency, the man was psychologically sick, being a classic narcissist. But then, he’s always been that way. There is no question about it. But there is a question as to whether or not Donald Trump is merely a sociopath–who therefore cannot empathize with the suffering of other people–or a psychopath, which is worse. I have a discussion about this in my book.
The back cover of my book says, “Zarley thinks Trump’s Bible photo op on June 1, 2020, was the turning point in his presidency. He gave a speech [at the White House] claiming to be a law-and-order president. Minutes later, he posed with a Bible in front of a church. . . . after Trump mistreated the Bible like that, he went AWOL on COVID and became a hypocrite on law-and-order by trying to overturn a fair election. He then incited the Capitol riot that resulted in death and destruction.”
Esper’s book raises this question about whether Trump is only a sociopath or also a psychopath. The occasion for Trump speech and Bible photo op was demonstrations in U.S. cities by Black Lives Matter folk who were protesting police brutality witnessed by the death of black man George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Esper now tells in his book that that day, on June 1st, before Trump gave his speech and marched over to the church for his Bible photo op, he said to Esper and others concerning the protestors filling the streets there in Washington, DC, and other cities as well, “Can’t you just shoot them? Shoot them in the legs or something?”
Esper also reveals Trump’s dimwittedness when he told Esper concerning illegal narcotics being trafficked into the U.S. from Mexico that our military should shoot missiles at illegal drug labs in Mexico to blow them up. Trump then added that U.S. authorities should merely remain silent about who did it and then no one would know. I think that remark of Rex Tillerson, Trump’s Secretary of State, about calling Trump “a moron,” applies here except, again, that is an insult to victims of Downs Syndrome (I had a beloved uncle with Downs).
Like many other sane and ethical people who served in the Trump Administration and now have tell-all books about that chaos, Esper is having to defend his having remained quiet about Trump’s unethical, immoral ways and even stupid thinking during the time Esper served the president and now, afterwards, speaking out about it. John Bolton, Trump’s National Security advisor, had to defend himself as well after Trump fired him and Bolton later wrote a book critiquing Trump.
Esper also tells about Trump’s irritation with two retired military generals criticizing Trump publicly. Stanley McChrystal, commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, had called Trump “immoral” in an op ed piece and added that he “embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.”
Trump told Esper and Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that he wanted to recall generals McChrystal and William H. Raven back into the military and court-marshal them. Oh, great, a draft dodger president doing that! Esper said, “Doing that will backfire on you, Mr. President.” Esper says the discussion went back and forth, with Trump obviously not letting go of his evil desire. Milley placated Trump’s anger by offering to phone the two generals and asking them to back off.
Esper defends himself for staying in office by saying, “I had to figure out a way to walk Trump back without creating the mess I was trying to avoid.” Esper further explains, “If I wasn’t there and Milley wasn’t there, what would have happened? And what would it have done to the military profession for a president to call back to active duty two … retired four-stars and to try and court-martial them for publicly expressing their views?
“I don’t know who is going to come in behind me, and I didn’t have confidence that they would do the things that I was doing–that they would push back. My concern was that they would actually implement some of these outlandish ideas. … If you’re serious about your oath and putting the country first, then the higher calling was to kind of hang in there and try to keep things steady as she goes.”
Makes sense to me. What do you think?