Better late than never, as the saying goes.
Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense under former Republican President Donald Trump, is the latest former Trump associate to turn on him and Esper is no longer mincing words.
Asked point blank if he considers Trump "a threat to our democracy," Esper emphatically agreed. He did so on Fox News, of all places, pivoting on the network's Bret Baier to ask him "what else can you conclude?" given Trump's conduct.
It's just the latest in a series of explosive interviews Esper has given—while promoting his forthcoming memoir—that have been uncharacteristically blunt for former Trump insiders. Trump is of course lashing out in response.
See a clip of Esper's discussion with Baier below.
Esper appeared on Fox News to promote his forthcoming book A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times, which makes a number of shocking and scathing claims about the former President.
Asked by Baier if he thinks Trump was a threat to our democracy, Esper not only answered in the affirmative but shifted the question into the present tense.
He told Baier:
"I think that, given the events of 6 January, given how he has undermined the election results, he incited people to come to DC, stirred them up that morning, and failed to call them off--to me, that threatens our democracy..."
"What else can you conclude, Bret?"
Esper's comments follow an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday that gave a truly chilling glimpse into just how unhinged the Trump White House was.
Esper told CBS' Norah O'Donnell that Trump wanted to open fire on anti-racism protestors in 2020 and to bomb Mexico to destroy drug labs and cartels. While Trump called the former accusation "fake news," he has not denied the latter, to which he replied "no comment."
Trump, of course, has been publicly lashing out at Esper in the wake of the interview, claiming in a written response to CBS he ran the military himself because of how "weak" and "totally ineffective" Esper was.
He also insulted Esper personally, saying:
"Mark Esper was a stiff who was desperate not to lose his job. He 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."
On Twitter, many were left unimpressed by Esper's comments, feeling they amounted to too little, too late.
But the extraordinary nature of such a high-level official turning on Trump wasn't lost on everyone.
Many applauded Esper's and other officials' efforts toward moderating Trump's worst impulses.
Esper also told Baier he hopes his former boss does not run again in 2024 and the GOP "can figure out... there are other candidates out there..."