Donald Trump’s former defense secretary on Wednesday lambasted his ex-boss, calling him “unfit to perform his duties”, the day after the 45th president announced the launch of his 2024 campaign.
“I don’t think he’s fit for office,” Mark Esper said of the 76-year-old Trump in an interview with CNN.
“He puts himself before the country,” the former Pentagon chief continued, adding, “For me, that’s the number one flaw, and then I think he also has integrity and character issues. “
Esper went on to describe one of those “character issues” as Trump’s difficulty in speaking the truth, and said he believed Americans wanted a more trustworthy commander-in-chief.
“I don’t think he’s an honest person. We saw the lies that came out of his remarks last night…Americans need a leader they can trust,” Esper said.
Like many who watched Trump’s announcement on Mar-a-Lago, the former Army officer criticized Trump’s speech on Tuesday.
“I thought his remarks were very restrained and uninspiring,” Esper said.
The former defense secretary also blamed Trump for the Republican Party’s failure to make more gains in Congress and state offices in the midterm elections.
“Last week’s election is an example that Donald Trump is incapable of winning an election,” Esper said. “He did more to help Democrats than Republicans.”
Esper, who was fired from his post after Trump’s defeat in the 2020 election, called on Republicans and Democrats to find new party standard bearers.
“I think it’s time for the Republican Party, and frankly, both parties, to move on to a new generation of leaders, and especially leaders who can unify our country and bring us back to more normal governance where we treat each other with dignity and respect, and we work on political issues, not personal attacks,” Esper said.
Esper hailed Trump’s recent nemesis Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) as one of the ‘next generation’ who look like promising presidential candidates.
“He did a great job in Florida. He brought more Hispanics on board. He seems like the favorite to me,” Esper said.
“But I think we need to have a primary to see who emerges and who can really, again, rally Republicans, grow the base, and really reach independents across the country.”
New York Post