Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Wednesday that former President Trump is unfit for office, and he does not want him to run for president in 2024.
Esper said on “CNN This Morning” that both parties should move on to a “next generation of leaders” who can unify the country and work on policy issues instead of personal attacks.
“I wish he wouldn’t,” Esper said, referring to Trump’s announcement Tuesday night that he is making another bid for the White House. “I think he’s unfit for office.”
He said the Trump administration did have accomplishments on issues such as border security, the appointment of conservative judges and lower taxes, but other Republicans can have those same achievements without the “baggage,” personal attacks and “self-centeredness” of Trump.
Esper said last week’s midterms demonstrate that Trump is unable to win elections.
“He’s done more to help the Democrats than he has Republicans,” he said.
Trump has received blame from members of his own party for the GOP’s performance in the midterms. The party hoped to make sweeping gains in both houses of Congress but failed to win a majority in the Senate and will likely only narrowly control the House.
Several Trump-backed candidates who were viewed as weaker candidates than their primary opponents but more loyal to Trump lost in key House, Senate and gubernatorial races.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have a bigger margin in the House, and we should have taken the Senate, and yet we haven’t,” Esper said.
“If you want to govern with conservative principles, then you have to win elections, and Donald Trump can’t win elections,” he added.
Esper had previously slammed Trump and criticized the former president in a book released earlier this year.
He served as Defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by Trump in November 2020, a few days after the presidential election.
He said that Trump is a threat to democracy and makes it “his mission to destroy your life” if someone criticizes him.
He said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in May that a “new generation of Republican leaders” is needed and he condemned “extreme partisanship.”