Fmr DefSec Gates Offers Trump Praise on Foreign Policy, But Bothered by ‘His Treatment and Words About Military People’


Robert Gates, who served as Defense Secretary under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, has had tough words for both Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the past few years.

Gates famously wrote in 2014 that despite his personal feelings about Biden, “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Chuck Todd asked him about those comments on Meet the Press Sunday, asking if that makes it hard for him to support the former VP for president.

Gates said, “I think the important thing is the quality of his character is important. I have a lot of policy disagreements frankly with the former vice president, but I think one of the things that people will be weighing this fall is probably the character of the two contestants.”

Todd then brought up Gates’ comments in 2016 calling Trump “stubbornly uninformed” and “unqualified and unfit” to be Commander-in-Chief. “Has your assessment of him changed?”

Gates responded by crediting some significant decisions made during the Trump administration while still having issues with the president’s character:

“Unlike his three predecessors, and I write about this in the book, at least he hasn’t started any new wars, and he has robustly funded the military. I supported his outreach to North Korea. It hasn’t come to anything, but I thought that was a bold move and everything else had failed in the previous 25 years. I thought his challenging China was about time, but there’s the other side of the coin. Some of the things he says, his treatment and words about military people and military heroes like John McCain that I admire a lot that are really troublesome.”

Todd asked if this is a case where “character trumps policy for you.” Gates declined to directly respond, instead saying “that will be up to the voters.”

You can watch above, via NBC.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac