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Former Defense secretary: No Republican president I worked for would recognize GOP today

Robert Gates, the former Defense secretary under both the Bush and Obama administrations, said in an interview that aired Sunday that of the five Republican U.S. presidents he worked for, “I don’t think any of them would recognize the Republican Party today.”

CBS’s “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson asked Gates what he made of the current state of the Republican Party given that a contingent of its voters do not consider President Biden to be legitimately elected.

“I would have serious concerns about the future. You know, I’ve … worked for eight presidents. Five of them were Republicans. I don’t think any of them would recognize the Republican Party today,” Gates said. “I think in terms of the values and the principles that the Republican Party stood for under those five presidents are hard to find these days.”

Dickerson questioned whether the recent events such as the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the GOP’s reluctance to recognize the election results give America’s critics cause to say it is a declining power.

“I think there is that, but I think it’s also broader than that,” Gates said, noting that Chinese President Xi Jinping has criticized the U.S. for its “political paralysis” and inability to accomplish large goals.

“The only way to counter that, frankly, is through actions, through being able to actually get some things done in Washington that we hadn’t been able to get done for a long time,” Gates said. 

“It goes back to strategic communications. How do you convey the message to the rest of the world [that], yeah, we’re a flawed country, we’ve always had flaws, but we’re unique in that we’re the only country that actually talks about those flaws and actually works to try and fix them. We are an aspirational country, and we’ve kind of lost that message, it seems to me,” Gates added.

Tags Face the Nation Joe Biden Republican Party Robert Gates
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