Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates Said Biden ‘Wrong’ for 40 Years

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America via Wikimedia Commons

This week over 70 former Republican national security officials – including ex-CIA and FBI chiefs will formally endorse Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden. The group, called “Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden,” reports Reuters, includes some senior GOP members of the U.S. defense and intelligence establishment from Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Trump administrations.

This is not surprising considering this national security establishment has often held a failed consensus view toward managing many of the threats to America. And this same establishment – including many GOP Never-Trumpers – has been most vocal and active in undermining President Trump since before he was inaugurated.

Some call them the ‘Deep State.’ Many of them are too old to matter much, others may be vying for positions in, or influence with, a possible Biden Administration.

However, one Republican defense establishment figure who was highly critical of Trump in 2016 but probably won’t be joining the Biden 2020 bandwagon, is former Obama-Biden Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. In his 2014 memoirs Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Gates writes that while Joe Biden was likable on a personal level, he has: “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

When asked in May 2019 by CBS’s “Face The Nation” host Margaret Brennan if he stood by that statement, Gates responded, as quoted by RealClearPolitics – “I think I stand by that statement.”

The full quote about Biden from his book was:

He’s a man of integrity, incapable of hiding what he really thinks, and one of those rare people you know you could turn to for help in a personal crisis. Still, I think he’s been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.

When Margaret Brennan asked Gates if Biden would he be an effective commander-in-chief? Gates replied, “I don’t know. I don’t know… I think that the vice president had some issues with the military. So how he would get along with the senior military, and what that relationship would be…I think, it… would depend on the personalities at the time.”

Meanwhile, RealClearPolitics notes Gates seemed to doubt Biden’s mental abilities at his current age. In response to Brennan’s question asking Gates if he thought Biden was right for this moment. Gates replied:

I think having a President who is somebody our age or older… is- I think it’s problematic. I think that you don’t have the kind of energy that I think is required to be President. I think– I’m not sure you have the intellectual acuity that you might have had in your sixties.

Maybe that was Gates diplomatically saying that Biden isn’t all there. But beyond his views on Biden, where does Gates stand now on Trump?

In his recent book, Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World, Gates is slightly more supportive of President Trump. When questioned in June 2020 by NBC’s Chuck Todd about whether he had changed his mind on Trump since 2016, Gates said – according to The Hill:

“I would say this, Chuck. First of all, unlike his three predecessors…at least he hasn’t started any new wars and he has robustly funded the military.”

Gates also said he supported Trump’s “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,” said Gates.

Bottom line is that Gates is pretty clear that he believes Biden has been wrong on foreign policy for four decades, and may not have the mental chops to be POTUS, and that Trump has not been nearly as bad as he feared, and his critics still claim.

That is something to keep in mind as former Republican national security leaders try to sell America on Biden.

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Paul Crespo

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

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Martin Michaels
Martin Michaels
11 months ago

I don’t care HOW many Obama, Bush or Clinton FORMER officials endorse (or worse, UN-endorse) President Trump. He, has, unlike any of these people (including their former bosses) pretty much kept his word. This despite, often BLATANT, opposition from both sides of the aisle. Just imagine what he could accomplish with a BIT of cooperation…

KEEP America Great – Again!

LARRY
LARRY
11 months ago

TRUMP IS A POTUS YOU CAN TRUST!HE TELLS YOU EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTS AND GO AFTER IT! SO VERY UNLIKE THE DEMOCRATS WHOSE MOTO IS LIE, CHEAT AND STEAL! LOOT AND BURN MY ALSO BE ADDED TO THEIR LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS!

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[…] However, one Republican defense establishment figure who was highly critical of Trump in 2016 but probably won’t be joining the Biden 2020 bandwagon, is former Obama-Biden Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. In his 2014 memoirs Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Gates writes that while Joe Biden was likable on a personal level, he has: “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” —AmericanDefenseNews […]

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P W
P W
8 months ago

Someone from the deep state, formerly that actually tells the truth, clearly there is no place for Robert Gates in Washington any longer.

Marlene deRonde
Marlene deRonde
8 months ago

Many demoncRats are in the Republican Party. They’re called RINO’S … Republican in Name Only. Romney, Bush for starters. And, many Presidents are related to the British Royal Family. Check that out-!!!

Hillary’s father was head of the Chicago branch of the Detroit mob after Al Capone…hence, the ones protecting Her-? A.k.a. knocking off those who oppose her (?).
Will we ever know the Truth-?

Daisy
Daisy
8 months ago

I don’t know who these people are, and I don’t care. All I know is before President Trump was elected, the world was a very scary place. The middle east was a mess and terrorists were rampant. North Korea was a threat. Now, after President Trumps been there for four years, the landscape is very different in the world. ISIS has been defeated, the middle east is much calmer, even giving the President three nobel peace prize nominations, and North Korea has been quiet. Because we have a dishonest press who does not care about the country, many people are not aware of all the President has done for us.

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7 months ago

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