Two-time defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, whose flat tax venture on Twitter in April unsurprisingly buried his Twitter account in vitriol, sat down with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle to discuss his support of Donald Trump. Naturally, former president George H.W. Bush’s apparent decision to vote for Hillary Clinton came up in conversation, and Rumsfeld — whose initial cabinet appointment under President Gerald Ford occurred simultaneously with political rival Bush’s placement at the Central Intelligence Agency, didn’t have anything nice to say. In fact, he seemingly blamed it all on Bush’s advanced age.
As Politico and countless others noted, the 84-year-old Rumsfeld thought the 92-year-old Bush’s alleged decision to vote for the Democratic presidential nominee was due to the latter’s being “up in years”:
RUHLE: You surprised?
RUMSFELD: Oh, he’s up in years.
RUHLE: So are you!
RUMSFELD: But he’s up in years, and he obviously comes from a totally different cut than Donald Trump. He gets his choice, and if that’s true, he’s made his choice, then fine. He can go do what he wants to do.
That Rumsfeld would dig his former employer’s father in such a way isn’t all that surprising, given their history together. While the two served together during the Ford administration, they constantly bickered with each other over defense intelligence, policy and advising. As Washington Post editor Bob Woodward revealed in his 2003 book, Bush at War, “Bush senior was convinced that Rumsfeld was pushing him out to the CIA to end his political career.”
Rumsfeld went on to say he “[didn’t] agree with either [candidate] 100 percent of the time,” but ultimately, it came down to who “would be best for the country” and who he thought was “acceptable.” Or, as the George W. Bush cabinet member put it:
“Maybe not preferred. But acceptable, as opposed to what’s unacceptable, and I think truthfulness and believability and,” Rumsfeld said, pausing before concluding: “Truthfulness is important.”
Ruhle immediately asked whether or not Rumsfeld thought Trump was “truthful,” a question he didn’t necessarily answer. Instead, he suggest the New York real estate mogul was “not untruthful,” whereas Clinton is.