Rumsfeld: Trump has ‘touched a nerve in our country’

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Monday that Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump to lay out first 100 days in Gettysburg speech GOP senator: Dems making ‘concerted effort to produce fraudulent votes’ Trump touts Navy expansion proposal in Pa. MORE has “touched a nerve” with everyday Americans.

“It’s just amazing,” he said during an interview on NBC’s “Today.”

“This election year is so different from most of, if not all, of the earlier ones that I’ve experienced,” Rumsfeld told host Matt Lauer.

“[Trump] has caused people to respond in a way that most politicians have not been able to do,” he added. "I see someone who has touched a nerve with our country.”

Rumsfeld said that the popularity of Trump and other outsider White House hopefuls like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on the Democratic side shows voters are thirsting for political alternatives.

“That fact that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are able to draw 10-, 15-, 20- or 30-thousand people to hear them speak say that there’s something going on in our country that they’re appealing to in a very interesting, unusual way,” he said.

Rumsfeld added that former President George H.W. Bush’s criticism of him is not helping his family’s brand while his son, Jeb Bush, seeks the Oval Office.

“I was amazed that he said what he said when he said it,” he said of George H.W. Bush’s recent remark that he has an “iron-ass” personality.

“I didn’t think it was very complimentary of his son,” Rumsfeld said, citing former President George W. Bush.

“I don’t think it was very helpful to his other son, who is running for president,” he continued, referring to Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor. "I think it was a strange thing for him to be doing.

“We were never close,” Rumsfeld added of his relationship with George H.W. Bush. "He was kind of to the manor-born and I wasn’t.”

"I suppose there are some people that are uncomfortable with a dynasty," he added in an analysis of Jeb Bush's campaign, which has failed to gain traction among GOP voters.