Obama’s Former Defense Secretary Slams Biden’s Foreign Policy Credentials, Age

'Wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue'

• May 13, 2019 12:35 pm


Former defense secretary Robert Gates is standing by his long held criticism of Joe Biden's foreign policy credentials and raising new questions about the 2020 Democrat's stamina.

Gates, who led the Pentagon under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said during a Sunday interview with CBS's Face the Nation he stood by statements made in his 2014 memoir that Biden had "been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." The show's host, Margaret Brennan, looped Gates's prior comments into a broader question about whether Biden had the ability to "be an effective commander-in-chief."

"I don't know, I don't know," Gates said. "I stand by that statement. He and I agreed on some key issues in the Obama administration, we disagreed significantly on Afghanistan and some other issues."

"I think that the vice president has some issues with the military, so how he would get along with the senior military and what that relationship would be," Gates continued. "I just think it would depend on the personalities at the time."

The interview then moved onto to a discussion of Biden's age and vitality. Brennan asked if as a "peer," Gates thought the former vice president was the "right" person "for this moment," especially as Biden would be 78-years-old at the time of his inauguration.

Gates said that although he keeps "busy and pretty active," the prospect of having a president "our age or older," as "in the case of" Vermont senator Bernie Sanders (I.), was "problematic."

"You don't have the kind of energy that I think is required to be president," Gates said. "I think… I'm not sure you have the intellectual acuity that you might have had in your 60s. So, I mean it's just a personal view… for me the thought of taking on those responsibilities at this point in my life would be pretty daunting."‘

Gates remarks come amid a renewed scrutiny of Biden's foreign policy record as polling shows him the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Even before announcing his bid, Biden was being hammered by more liberal competitors over his vote for the Iraq War and prior support of free trade deals, like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

On Saturday, an article in the New York Post shed new light on lucrative business ties Hunter Biden, the vice president's youngest son, developed with the governments of China and Ukraine while his father served in the Obama administration.

Published under: 2020 Election, Joe Biden