Gates: 'I Have Some Real Issues' With Trump on National Security

May 15, 2016

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates laid out his "real issues" he had with Donald Trump as a potential commander-in-chief during an interview airing Sunday on Face The Nation.

Gates said Trump had made statements that concerned him, among them his antagonism toward China and vagueness over how he would combat the Islamic State terrorist organization.

"I have some real issues with things he's said about national security policy and some concerns," Gates said. "I think there are some contradictions. You can't have a trade war with China and ask them to help you on North Korea. I have no idea what his policy would be in terms of dealing with ISIS. I worry a little bit about his admiration for Vladimir Putin."

Gates served as Pentagon chief during parts of both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. CBS host John Dickerson asked Gates later in the segment if he would be willing to serve if Trump asked.

"Well, I learned a long time ago never to say never, but let's just say that would be inconceivable to me," he said. "Before the election, I will be 73, and let's just say I've stopped working on my resume."

Trump has expressed positive sentiments about Putin, the autocratic leader of Russia, and while he has insisted that ISIS will be destroyed once he becomes president, his exact plan on how to do so has not been big on specifics.

To hear Trump tell it, however, that's been by design.

"We are totally predictable," he said last month in a foreign policy address. "We tell everything. We’re sending troops. We tell them. We’re sending something else. We have a news conference. We have to be unpredictable. And we have to be unpredictable starting now. But they’re going to be gone. ISIS will be gone if I’m elected president. And they’ll be gone quickly. They will be gone very, very quickly."