Robert Gates took over the Defense Department during the presidency of George W. Bush following the debacle that was Donald Rumsfeld. Gates did such a good job getting control over things that when President Obama was elected, he asked Gates to stay on. So the man is anything but partisan when it comes to ideas about how to protect the country. Gates has looked at what the field of Republican candidates has been saying about national security, and he is not impressed.
On January 25, Gates appeared on Politico Playbook with Mike Allen, where he continued his attacks on the ideas for keeping America safe put forth by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and other Republicans. Earlier, Gates had criticized GOP ideas for fighting ISIS in a Morning Joe appearance on MSNBC. At the Politico event he went even further with the harsh criticism he had previously offered.
Gates certainly has plenty of experience when it comes to issues of national security. He first served on the National Security Council under Richard Nixon and later was CIA Director under George H.W. Bush. And the thinks that when it comes to keeping Americans safe, the GOP presidential candidates have no idea of what they’re talking about.
During the 45-minute conversation, Gates tells Allen:
The level of dialogue on national security issues would embarrass a middle schooler. People are out there making threats and promises that are totally unrealistic, totally unattainable. I told somebody the other day, either they really believe what they’re saying or they’re cynical and opportunistic and, in a way, you hope it’s the latter, because God forbid they actually believe some of the things that they’re saying.
Following that comment, Gates uses the example Ronald Reagan (of course) to chide the Republican candidates for the fear and negativity they are stoking:
What the Republican candidates don’t grasp is that one of the greatest, most appealing aspects of Ronald Reagan was his optimism about this country and about the future. These guys all make it sound like we’re going down the drain.
While he doesn’t say so in so many words, Gates implies that “down the drain” is exactly where we’ll be with a President Trump or President Cruz. Unfortunately the GOP base is not likely to listen to Gates. How can they trust his opinions? After all, he worked for “the black guy.”
Here is Robert Gates’ interview with Politico’s Mike Allen, starting at 34:45 in the video. Gates’ remarks about the Republican candidates begin at about 1:01:35.
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