“60 Minutes” reached out to former President Donald Trump for his response to some of the allegations made by Esper. He sent a page-long note. I’ve excerpted the lines you need to see from it below.
1. “Norah, as per your request on ‘Yesper.’ See you soon!”
The letter is to CBS’ Norah O’Donnell. “Yesper” is, um, Esper. (More on that in a minute.) “See you soon!” because Trump loves the media – no matter how many times and how many ways he says he doesn’t.
2. “This is a complete lie and 10 witnesses can back it up.”
The question is whether, during a June 1, 2020, Cabinet meeting, Trump proposed shooting some of the Black Lives Matters protesters in the legs. It’s not at all clear why, exactly, Esper would lie about this. Nor does Trump provide any names of the “10 witnesses” who can allegedly prove that he is right and Esper is wrong. Which, um, makes it kind of hard to check?
3. “Mark Esper was weak and totally ineffective and, because of it, I had to run the military.”
Don’t twist my arm! Trump didn’t want to run the military, he had to! Also, let’s not forget that this is a man who regularly referred to “my generals” and “my military.” And he did that long before Esper was secretary of defense.
4. “Mark Esper was a stiff who was desperate not to lose his job. He would do anything I wanted, that’s why I call him ‘Yesper.’”
The origin of the nickname revealed. Also, Trump is trying to argue two seemingly contradictory things against Esper: That he was ineffective and that he would do anything Trump wanted. How can both be right?
5. “He was recommended to me by some very weak RINOs and that is what he turned out to be.”
When Trump announced Esper as his pick for secretary of defense, he called him “a highly respected gentleman with a great career — West Point, Harvard, a tremendous talent.” So…
6. “Wrong. I wanted to send 10,000 troops for January 6, because I knew many people were coming to Washington that day to protest the corrupt President Election of 2020.”
The question was whether Trump wanted to send 10,000 active duty troops to Washington, DC after a fire was set in the basement of St. John’s Church at the end of May 2020. Which he, um, did not answer. (What it’s worth: CNN reported at the time that Trump had made the request for troops, but received pushback from Esper and then-Chairman of the Joint of Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley.) As for his claim that he requested 10,000 troops to be deployed in Washington in advance of January 6 and was turned down by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, well, there’s no evidence of that.
7. “60 Minutes should ask them why they chose not to have proper security, which would have totally changed that day and allowed us to have a proper debate on massive Election Fraud, which the Fake News media still refuses to cover whatsoever.”
Again, there’s zero evidence – aside from Trump just saying it – that he asked for 10,000 troops in Washington ahead of January 6, 2021. And there is also no evidence that such a request, which he didn’t make, was rebuffed by either Bowser or Pelosi. Also, Trump seems to believe that if only Pelosi and Bowser had fulfilled such a request, then the 2020 election could have been overturned. Which, whoa boy…
8. “I fired Yesper because he was a RINO incapable of leading, and I had to run the military myself.”
Yes, you’ve said that already.
9. “No comment.”
This was Trump’s response to whether he asked Esper if they could attack the Mexican drug cartels with missiles. So, yes then?