Former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper hit the nightly television portion of his book tour Monday. And he asked himself some of the toughest questions to date late show Host Stephen Colbert.
The interview began warmly enough, with the two men joking about how their sittings were postponed when Colbert had a resurgent case of COVID-19 and had to cancel another week of shows.
“You’re a super spreader, aren’t you?” Esper cracked.
And when Colbert asked the West Point grad for his assessment of his former boss Donald Trump’s military knowledge, Esper replied, “I thought you were going to ask tough questions,” before liberally describing that he knew no more than his generals — but more than the average person on the street.
Esper defended himself as a “circuit breaker” against Trump’s most dangerous impulses, drawing loud applause from the audience when he explained that he ended up being fired for not being “enoughly loyal” to the president.
It wasn’t until her second segment that Colbert urged Esper to wait until he had a book to sell his decision to speak out against his former boss. “If you knew all that, why did you wait to put it in a book?” he asked. “Doesn’t it look like you want to sell books instead of protecting the country?”
And even accepting Esper’s “circuit breaker” defense, the host asked, “What does that tell you about the state of our country that it’s just this one man in this position standing up to the crazies and you can’t.” be truthful to the American people? Because the founders imagined that an informed public would save our country, not even the most well-intentioned guy.”
When Esper tried to answer, Colbert added, “But you knew all this stuff and felt like you couldn’t tell us?”
Once again, Esper said Trump would have been right to fire him “on the spot” if he had spoken out against him at the time, and that then there would have been no one to stop him from sending troops to the border or missiles shoot at them Mexico.
“But where are we as a country if you can’t tell us?” asked Colbert. “We deserve to know that in order to make our choices. And I’ll take your reasoning, but where do we stand as a country if you can’t tell us that?”
All Esper could really say in response was that “it’s a great question” that he “struggled” with and finally decided to save his most scathing stories about Trump for a book a year and a half after Trump fired him , has been published.
Later in the show, Colbert asked his second guest, Judd Apatow, what comedian George Carlin thought of Esper.
“I don’t think George Carlin would like Mark Esper,” replied Apatow, who is promoting his new documentary about the comedian. “Because Carlin’s whole idea was that people with money manipulate the whole system. So if anyone knows Trump is a maniac, you would think the day after he was fired is the day he has to go: “Hey, he was going to shoot all the George Floyd protesters in the legs.” But he’s waiting a year to write a book and make money.”
“That was George Carlin’s whole thing,” Apatow continued. “He just thought, ‘They’re not paying attention to you.'”
For more information, see Judd Apatow’s The Last Laugh podcast.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/stephen-colbert-colbert-grills-mark-esper-for-cashing-in-on-trump-secrets?source=articles&via=rss Stephen Colbert grills Mark Esper for exploiting Trump secrets