By Ryan Bort ROLLING STONE
Mark Esper’s new book has provided a wealth of insight into the unhinged, dangerous, and often racist directives the former president issued while in office
The revelations keep on coming from Mark Esper’s new book about his time in the Trump administration. Politico on Monday orning published a new excerpt from A Sacred Oath, in which the former defense secretary expounds on the unhinged ideas Trump incessantly pushed and the efforts of those around him to convince the president to pursue more reasonable options. One such idea was to shut down the U.S. embassies in Africa.
“Shut down the embassies in Africa,” Esper writes that Trump said said, noting that he did so regularly. “Bring our people [U.S. diplomats] home.”
Trump hasn’t exhibited very much much affection for Africa’s 50-plus countries since entering politics. He famously described African nations as “shithole countries” during an immigration debate in 2018, drawing widespread condemnation.
Michael Cohen, the former president’s former attorney and fixer, alleged during testimony, as well as in his own memoir, that Trump had previously asked him if he could name a country run by a Black leader that wasn’t a “shithole.” Trump also, of course, largely launched his political career on the racist idea that Barack Obama was secretly born in Africa.
Esper writes the A Sacred Oath excerpt published by Politico on Monday that he tried to rebut this and other “outlandish” ideas with “facts, data and arguments,” but that this only irritated Trump. He notes that Trump also wanted a “complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from South Korea,” the nation that abuts the dictatorship run by Kim Jong-un, whom Trump has praised repeatedly.
Esper is in the middle of an extremely busy promotional tour for A Sacred Oath, which is out Tuesday. He recently sat down for an glossy interview with 60 Minutes during which he spoke at length about the “bad” and “dangerous” moves Trump was pushing ahead of the 2020 election, and how he and others in the Trump administration had to work to convince the president to reconsider. He listed Trump’s desire to take military action against Venezuela, to strike Iran, and to blockade Cuba.
“It seemed every few weeks something like this would come up and we would have to swat him down,” Esper told 60 Minutes.
Credit: Rolling Stone