Esper says he wouldn’t vote for Trump in 2024: ‘We need a new generation of Republican leaders’
Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Tuesday said in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he would not vote to reelect former President Trump in 2024, saying, “We need a new generation of Republican leaders.”
When asked if he would vote for the president he served under if he runs for the White House again, Esper responded: “No, and I’ll tell you why. Because in my view, any elected leader needs to meet some basic criteria: they need to be able to put country over self, they need to have a certain amount of integrity and principle, they need to be able to reach across the aisle and bring people together and unite the country. Look, Donald Trump doesn’t meet those marks for me.”
Esper said that the U.S. needs a “new generation of Republican leaders” who can both advance a Republican agenda and unite the country.
“We need a new generation of Republican leaders who will advance those core items for any Republican, right: stronger military, lower taxes, deregulation, conservative judges, you name it, we need people who can do it while also growing the Republican base and uniting the country,” Esper said.
Esper condemned “extreme partisanship” in both parties, placing emphasis on the importance of uniting people to accomplish items that will benefit the whole country.
“The biggest threat we face today, I’m afraid, is extreme partisanship on both sides of the aisle that is causing dysfunction in Washington, D.C., and not allowing us to address these major issues — whether it’s China or the budget, you name it, we have to solve this problem and we need a leader that can do that,” Esper said.
Esper has been a regular critic of the former president and made some shocking revelations in interviews while promoting his book, “A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times,” which was released Tuesday.
Last week, the former Defense secretary said that Trump had proposed firing missiles into Mexico to target drug cartels.
He also called a plan by Trump to send a quarter of a million troops to the U.S.-Mexico border “ridiculous” and this week referred to some of Trump’s other foreign policy proposals as “outlandish.”
Trump has responded to some of Esper’s claims by calling him a “lightweight” and a “RINO” — a Republican in name only.