Mark Esper, the secretary of Defense under the Trump administration, claimed that former President Donald Trump had proposed shooting missiles into Mexico in an interview on 60 Minutes with Norah O’Donnell that aired on Sunday.

“He would say to go after the cartels,” Esper said. “And we would have this private discussion where I’d say, ‘Mr. President, I understand the motive.’ Because he was very serious about dealing with drugs in America. I get that, we all understand, but I had to explain to him, ‘We – we can’t do that. It would violate international law. It would be terrible for our neighbors to the south. It would, you know, impact us in so many ways.'”

Esper confirmed that Trump had claimed that “nobody would know it was us,” when discussing shooting missiles into Mexico.

“And I– I just thought it was fanciful, right? Because, of course, it would be us,” Esper said.

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Esper was hesitant to tell people about the conversations because he thought no one would believe him.

“Then I was having dinner – after the election in 2020 with a fellow Cabinet member,” Esper said. “And – and he said to me, ‘You know, remember that time when President Trump suggested you shoot missiles into Mexico?’ And I said to him, ‘You – you heard that?’ He goes, ‘Oh, yeah. I couldn’t believe it. And I couldn’t believe how well you managed and talked him down from that.’ And at that moment, I knew I gotta write the story. Because at least have one witness who will verify that this really did happen.”

60 Minutes asked the former President for a comment to Esper’s interview, to which Trump sent back a page-long response.

Though he disputed some of Esper’s claims, he said “no comment,” when asked if he really proposed attacking Mexican drug cartels with missiles.

Watch the interview in the clip below.


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