Gates: Obama ‘Suspicious’ of Military Leaders, Felt ‘Obligation’ to Meet with Them

by Andrew Johnson

One of the main differences he saw between Barack Obama and George W. Bush was their approach to military leaders, says Robert Gates. The former defense secretary detailed these experiences in his book, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.

“I always had the feel with him, first of all, that he was suspicious of their motives; and second, that time spent with them was an obligation,” Gates said of President Obama in an interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity. Gates contrasted that with Bush, who “genuinely enjoyed” spending time with military leaders and getting their insights.

The Obama administration also tended to look at military decisions through a political prism, according to Gates, although then-chief of staff Rahm Emanuel​ and Vice President Joe Biden were more “driven” by politics than the president was.

Later in the interview, Gates recounted the discomfort he and other holdovers from the Bush administration would feel when President Obama and his team would “trash” the preceding administration, calling them “a bunch of bums.” “We’re sitting there thinking, ‘What are we invisible — we were integral to that.’”