Mark Esper
Mark Esper Reuters

Former US President Donald Trump complained about America’s “ugly” Navy ships while in office and said Russia’s looked better, former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper writes in his new book, according to The Hill.

In Esper’s new book, “A Sacred Oath,” which is set to be released on Tuesday, he writes that Trump had a certain type of aesthetic when it came to warships, often complaining that Russian and Italian naval ships were more attractive than America’s.

“On multiple occasions, the president complained that the U.S. Navy ships ‘look ugly,’ while the Russian and Italian ships, for example, ‘look nicer, sleeker, like a real ship.’ Maybe so, but as I told the president in defense of the Navy, ‘Our ships are built to fight and win, not win beauty contests; we prize function over form,” Esper writes in his book, adding, “That didn’t satisfy him.”

Esper also writes in his book that Trump became obsessed with retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a witness in Trump’s first impeachment trial.

“The president asked me a couple of times about Vindman: ‘When will the Army kick him out?’ he would say,” writes Esper, according to The Hill. “It was surprising how animated one Army lieutenant colonel was able to make the leader of the free world. I never understood it.”

An excerpt from Esper’s book quoted on Friday says Trump sought to kill a senior Iranian military officer shortly before the 2020 election.

Esper assumed the role of Defense Secretary in June of 2019, following the resignation of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who resigned after two years in the job after a series of policy disagreements with Trump, climaxing with Trump's decision to pull US troops out of Syria.

Trump fired Esper in November of 2020, replacing him with National Counterterrorism Center Director Chris Miller. That announcement followed reports that Esper had planned to resign and had already prepared a letter of resignation.