Former Defense Chief Esper: Trump 'Unfit' for Office
(Newsmax/"The Chris Salcedo Show")
By Jay Clemons | Wednesday, 16 November 2022 09:28 PM EST
The verbal sparring between former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper continues in the wake of Trump's Tuesday announcement that he is running for president in 2024.
While speaking to CNN Wednesday, Esper knocked Trump's speech from Mar-a-Lago, saying his delivery was "uninspiring."
Esper also has character concerns about the 45th president.
"I think he's unfit for office," said Esper. "I thought his remarks were very subdued and uninspiring."
Esper expressed a desire for the Republican Party to pursue a different nominee in 2024.
"I think that it's time for the Republican Party — and, frankly, both parties — to move on to a next generation of leaders, and particularly leaders that can unify our country and get us back to a more normal governance where we treat each other with dignity and respect, and we work on policy issues and not personal attacks," said Esper.
Trump garnered criticism from certain GOP members after last week's results in the midterm elections. The Republicans carried the majority in the House chamber, according to the Newsmax elections tracker; but Republican candidates for Senate and governor fell short of dominating election night.
"The election last week is an example that Donald Trump is incapable of winning elections," Esper said. "He's done more to help the Democrats than the Republicans."
Some of Trump's election night misses (Kari Lake, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Blake Masters) garnered national attention. At the same time, the former president's endorsement record for the 2022 midterms involved more than 200 winning selections nationwide.
In May, Trump publicly took aim at his former defense secretary's book claims, calling Esper a "lightweight."
"Mark Esper was weak and totally ineffective, and because of it, I had to run the military. I took out ISIS, Qasem Soleimani, al Baghdadi, rebuilt the military with $2.5 trillion, created Space Force, and so much more. Mark Esper was a stiff who was desperate not to lose his job," Trump wrote then, in response to a "60 Minutes" query.
Trump then added Esper "would do anything I wanted, that's why I called him 'Yesper,' He was a lightweight and figurehead, and I realized it very early on. He was recommended to me by some very weak [euphemism for 'Republicans In Name Only'] and that is what he turned out to be."
For the 2024 race, Esper already has a candidate in mind to succeed Trump as the Republican National Committee's nominee: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
"[He] is at the top of the list right now," said Esper, per the Daily Mail. "He did a great job in Florida."