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Former Pentagon chief hoping he was wrong about Trump

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Wednesday that he hopes that he was wrong about President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE when he criticized him in September.

“I must say, I think that based on what I’ve seen since the election ... I’m hoping I was wrong,” he said in an interview with CBS News.
 
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Gates, who once called Trump "willfully ignorant about the rest of the world," voiced support for the president-elect during the new interview and wished him success in office.
 
“It’s critical for us now that he is president-elect for him to be successful as president. Especially in national security, it’s important for us all. So I think anybody who can do anything to help should do it,” he said.
 
Gates also lauded Trump's work to fill out his Cabinet.
 
“Some of the people that he is talking to for senior jobs I find very encouraging. They’re very solid people. I don’t want to jinx anybody’s chances, but, for example, General Mattis, if he were to become secretary of Defense, he would be the first senior retired military officer to play that role since George Marshall in the Truman administration," he said.
 
However, the former Defense secretary warned against  "too much military influence" in the White House.
 
"I think it would be very difficult to have former generals as both secretary of State and Defense. I think that is probably too much military influence in the decisionmaking process," he said.
 
Gates also reflected on the current geopolitical situation with Russia, stating that Trump will have to "thread the needle" between pushing back on Moscow and a risking a further deterioration in bilateral relations between the two superpowers. 
 
Gates noted that the current foreign policy conditions may suggest to some that "Russians have us on our back foot in terms of what to do."