Ex-Pentagon chief confirms Trump wanted 250,000 troops on southern border

Washington, May 6: Former Defense Department Secretary Mark Esper confirmed in an interview that President Donald Trump’s administration wanted to deploy 250,000 active-duty US troops to the southern border to deter migrant caravans.
“(Then-Trump adviser) Stephen Miller, we’re in a meeting waiting for the President to come out, we’re standing around the resolute desk and he’s behind me and this voice just starts talking about caravans are coming and we need to get troops to the border and that we need a quarter of a million troops,” Esper told CBS News in a video clip released on Thursday.
Esper, after realizing the request was serious, said he told the Trump adviser that the Department of Homeland Security could handle the caravans headed to the border. However, according to Esper, Miller responded by saying, “no, we need a quarter of a million troops.”
Esper said defense officials in his department had been working on the plan without his knowing but he immediately terminated it when Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley discovered it was in the works.
Moreover, Esper added, the United States did not have 250,000 troops to send to the border.
“And to do what?” the former defense chief asked rhetorically.
The plan was reportedly proposed in the spring of 2020 as an influx of migrants arrived on the US southern border seeking asylum.
If the deployment was approved, it would have been the largest use of the American military inside the United States since the US Civil War.