Former US President Donald Trump wanted to “quietly” launch missiles into Mexico to “destroy the drug labs” run by cartels, claims his former secretary of defence.
Mark Esper was named as Trump’s defence secretary in 2019 before the President famously fired him on Twitter a year later.
In his upcoming memoir A Sacred Oath, Esper recounts several instances when Trump suggested some out-there ideas, including the time he thought he’d solved international drug trafficking.
According to the New York Times, Esper writes that Trump was becoming increasingly unhappy about drug trafficking across the southern border in the summer of 2020.
Trump is said to have asked Esper, on at least two occasions, whether he could “shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs”.
Esper recalled Trump justifying this by saying: “They don’t have control of their own country.”
The defence secretary raised a number of problems with the plan, but former President insisted: “We could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs, quietly.”
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“No one would know it was us,” Trump apparently said, reassuring Esper that he could get away with it simply by denying the US had launched the missiles.
Esper writes that he would have thought the suggestion – to fire missiles at a neighbouring ally without their knowledge – was a joke if it were not for the fact it came from Trump.
This wasn’t the only time Trump contemplated taking serious military action against Mexican drug cartels.
In late 2019 he announced his intention to legally designate the cartels as terrorist organisations, which he said would’ve given the US military the freedom to “go in and clear out” the criminals.
Trump vowed to “wage war on the drug cartels”, but Mexico’s foreign minister fumed that it would be a “violation of national sovereignty”.
The plans were put on ice a month after the announcement, with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador saying: “We thank President Trump for respecting our decisions and for choosing to maintain a policy of good neighbourliness, a policy of cooperation with us.”