Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates
, who served in various capacities under five Republican presidents, said on Sunday that the Republican Party
is unrecognizable today and is engaged in a “very dangerous” political game.
That gives him "serious concerns about the future," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Gates dismissed Republican lawmakers' claims that the presidential election
was rigged as "political gaming rather than a genuine conviction that the election was stolen." How that "manifests itself in the next election, I think, is going to be a challenge," he told host John Dickerson, "and it's very dangerous."
“I’ve... worked for eight presidents; five of them were Republicans
,” he said, adding, “I don’t think any of them would recognize the Republican Party today... the values and principles that the Republican Party stood for under those five presidents are difficult to find these days.”
“She’s a person of real integrity,” Gates said of Rep. Liz Cheney
(R-Wyo.) for standing up to her fellow Republicans’ baseless claims of a rigged election. “Internal politics
on the Hill is another matter,” he added.
Gates served as defense secretary for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama
, as well as being CIA
director under George H.W. Bush
, CIA deputy director under Ronald Reagan
, and a member of the National Security Council under Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon.
Gates expressed concern about the election results and the Capitol riot
, but he also worries about the “racism
that we see in our society” and the political “paralysis” gripping the country, making it impossible to evolve. Gates believes it is time to “actually get some things done in Washington that we hadn’t been able to get done for a long time.”
“We’re a flawed country, we’ve always had flaws,” he admitted, “but we’re unique in that we’re the only country that actually talks about those flaws and works to try to fix them. We are an aspirational country, and it appears to me that we’ve lost that message.”
Despite Donald Trump
's repeated boast that his administration had achieved peace in the Middle East
, Gates believes there is "very little prospect of a peace between" the Israelis and the Palestinians
at this point.
He believes President Joe Biden
's low-key approach to the current conflict, as opposed to being "front and center," is "probably not a bad thing."
“When the United States
is in the lead, it automatically creates a lot of antibodies in a lot of different places,” Gates added, “but if the United States is playing a constructive role behind the scenes, it can often be much more effective.”
Despite having previously criticized Biden, Gates said he is “encouraged” by how he is handling the presidency.
Check out the full interview in the video above, where Gates speaks about Israel at the beginning and the Republican Party at the end.