Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates explained and expanded on his brutal critique of Vice President Joe Biden on Piers Morgan Live Wednesday, stating that he resented Biden “stoking suspicion of the senior military with the president” and doubling down on his assessment that Biden had been “wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
After pressing Gates on his potentially “disloyal” criticism of Obama, Morgan moved on to Gates’ even more harsh assessment of Biden. Morgan started the segment by reading excerpts from Gates’ memoir that described Biden as a likeable guy personally, but one whose foreign policy and national security record was wrong on virtually every major issue over the last forty years, adding, “That is a pretty... damning verdict on the vice president.”
Gates started by tossing Biden a bone, pointing out that “on most of the major foreign policy issues” in the Obama administration, he and Biden actually tended to agree. That said, Gates then launched into his unapologetic condemnation of Biden’s foreign policy and national security record, as well as his resentment for the way Biden stirred up the president’s suspicion about the advice of military leaders.
Gates: We did disagree, and we disagreed deeply on Afghanistan. And I did resent the vice president stoking suspicion of the senior military with the president. But when I go back to the early 70s through the end of the Cold War, the vice president voted, when he was a senator, voted against assistance for South Vietnam that was going to be the lifeline as we left that country. He voted against virtually every element of President Reagan's defense buildup and strategy toward the Soviet Union, including most of the major weapons systems—the B-1, B-2 bombers, the MX missile, and so on. And he voted against the first Gulf War, when President George H.W. Bush was in office. So I think there's a pretty strong case there that on a lot of the big issues he was mistaken.
Morgan: Is it good for the United States of America that the vice president, according to the most experienced defense chief of the last four, five decades says he's been wrong about absolutely every foreign policy issue in that entire period?
Gates: Well, frankly, I don't think any of that's particularly a secret. And I don't think it's new news to most people who follow these things closely.