Ex-Defense Secretary Says It Would ‘Concern’ Him If Trump Ran Again

  • “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan asked Robert Gates if a Trump presidential bid would be a national security threat.
  • During the CBS interview, Robert Gates expressed “concern” about another Trump candidacy.
  • “That’s where I am,” he said regarding his feelings about the ex-president.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates during an interview that aired on Sunday said a 2024 White House candidacy by former President Donald Trump would “concern” him.

When asked by CBS “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan if Trump’s potential return to the Oval Office would pose a national security threat, Gates expressed some hesitancy.

“It would concern me,” said Gates, who served as the director of Central Intelligence from 1991 to 1993 and was the nation’s defense secretary from 2006 to 2011 under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

When Brennan said his response was “a very diplomatic phrase,” Gates conceded that was his current sentiment.

“That’s where I am,” he responded.

His comments came as Brennan mentioned Mark Esper’s bombshell book about his time in the Trump administration, in which the ex-defense secretary said that the former president wanted to shoot demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd.

Gates in past interviews has not had the warmest words for the former Republican commander-in-chief.

In a January 2020 PBS interview, Gates blasted Trump as divisive.

“It’s quite clear that being a unifying president is pretty low on the priority of our current incumbent,” he said at the time. “I think he is a divider, and I think he does so quite consciously.”

The longtime Washington official also had critical words for the Republican Party, declaring in a May 2021 “Face the Nation” interview that the presidents whom he served under would not recognize the current iteration of what the party has become.

“I worked for eight presidents. Five of them were Republicans. I don’t think any of them would recognize the Republican Party today,” he said at the time. “The values and the principles that the Republican Party stood for under those five presidents are hard to find these days.”

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