Former Vice President Joe Biden’s “intellectual acuity” in potentially leading the nation seemed a cause of concern for a former Obama administration official.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates did not exactly give the 2020 Democratic contender a glowing reference as he simply said he “didn’t know” if Biden would make an effective commander-in-chief, telling CBS News’ Margaret Brennan on “Face The Nation” that he stood by his view that Biden has “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue” in the last 40 years.
Brennan read from Gates’ comments on Biden in his 2015 memoir:
Joe Biden is impossible not to like. He is a man of integrity, incapable of hiding what he really thinks and one of those rare people you know you can 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.
After reminding the highly respected former Defense Secretary of his own words, the CBS News moderator and senior foreign affairs correspondent asked if he thought Biden would make a good president.
“I don’t know. I think I stand by that statement,” Gates said.
“He and I agreed on some key issues in the Obama administration. We agreed on, to oppose- we both opposed the intervention in Libya. We both opposed the way that President Mubarak was handled- the situation in Egypt. We disagreed significantly on Afghanistan and some other issues,” Gates explained.
“I think, as I say elsewhere in the memoir, 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 just- I think, it would depend on the personalities at the time.”
“You think he’s right for this moment?” Brennan asked, noting that the 76-year-old former vice president is one year older than himself.
“I think I’m pretty busy and pretty active but I think- I think having a president who is somebody our age or older, in the case of Senator Sanders, is – I think it’s problematic,” Gates replied.
“I think that you don’t have the kind of energy that I think is required to be president,” he added. “I’m not sure you have the intellectual acuity that you might have had in your sixties.”
Gates noted that it was just his “personal view” but that the “thought of taking on those responsibilities at this point in my life would be pretty daunting.”
He also pointed out that, even though he has had his “issues” with Biden on foreign policy, “I’ve hardly heard a word out of any of the other 20 candidates on foreign policy at all. I have no idea what any of them think about any of the issues you and I have been discussing.”
Gates’ reply on Biden’s foreign policy history has been noted by others as well, with former assistant secretary of state for President George W. Bush calling out the Democrat who has “empirically had poor judgment particularly on foreign policy.”
Robert Charles cited Gates on “Fox and Friends” last week, pointing out how Gates “criticizes almost nobody” but called out Biden for his foreign policy failures, which Charles then began to address.
“If you go back in time this is a guy who wanted to divide up Iraq. He opposed the Bin Laden raid. In favor of the phony Iran deal and sending cash to them,” he said. “Back in 1979, this is a guy who celebrated the Ayatollahs coming to power because he thought that was going to bring human rights. This is a guy that opposed the defense buildup of Ronald Reagan. He opposed the B-1. He opposed the B-2 that brought down … that policy direction brought down the Soviet Union. He opposed the MX missiles.”
He also condemned Biden’s recent comments on China, which is “truly our number one potential adversary and our number one competitor in the world,” and Biden thinking otherwise is “beyond naïve.”