CLEVELAND, Ohio — Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of Defense for both President George W. Bush and President Gerald Ford, endorsed presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News ahead of the GOP convention here next week.
“It seems to me it is,” Rumsfeld said when asked if it is a clear choice in November between Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Rumsfeld, who has previously indicated he would support Trump for president but went even further in this interview, explained his logic next. He started out by detailing the choices that people who are voting have in November:
I’m what, 84 years old, I’ve been through a lot of presidential elections and votes,” Rumsfeld told Breitbart News in the phone interview, for which he called in from New Mexico. “I’ve never voted for anyone I agreed with 100 percent and in every presidential election you look at it and you’ve got several choices. You can not vote, which is kind of a cop out and if you believe in democracy you’ve kind of got a responsibility to vote. You could vote for a third party and knowing that that person is going to lose, and knowing that you don’t know who you’re going to hurt or help by voting for a third party so I think that’s an unfortunate choice. And then you’re dealing with two major political parties and with 320 some million people in our country you’re going to be inevitably voting for someone you don’t agree with 100 percent of the time. Again, I’ve never agreed with any presidential nominee in either party 100 percent of the time. So it’s silly I think to think you’re going to find that kind of agreement.
From there, he detailed the choices—Trump or Clinton—and who could actually become president. On Clinton, Rumsfeld said she is wholly “unacceptable” to serve as President of the United States because she is “clearly corrupt” and represents more of the same America has seen under President Barack Obama. Rumsfeld said:
So then you look at the two choices—and as I look at Mrs. Clinton, I find her unacceptable as a presidential prospect. She is clearly corrupt. She is clearly on the wrong side of every major threat we face. She would represent another four years of the Obama administration. Can you imagine President Obama went to the Coast Guard Academy and said that the major threat facing the young graduates at the Coast Guard Academy was global warming? That’s breathtaking. I think of that and I’ve spoken to the Academies over the years and what an unfortunate thing to tell those people. It’s a different kind of a problem. In any event, I don’t think we can afford another four or eight years of what we’ve been doing.
On Trump, however, Rumsfeld noted he does disagree with the billionaire real estate developer on some things—particularly Trump’s viewpoints on the war in Iraq—but that their agreements far outweigh their disagreements. He said he clearly supports Trump for president and hopes that he wins the election in November. He went on to say:
Now, do I agree with Mr. Trump—I’ve never met him—do I disagree with him on some things? Sure. I think his comment that President Bush lied about Iraq was so factually wrong, having watched him go up to the Congress and the Democrats supporting him and Colin Powell going to the UN—Colin Powell didn’t lie. He went out and made the case to the world, we shared intelligence with other countries and there was broad agreement. For Mr. Trump to say that was wrong. Now, do I agree with him on other issues of substance and tone? Sure. But my goodness, when you put on a scale the qualifying aspects of Mrs. Clinton and the disagreements—which I expect to disagree with any presidential candidate—on the Trump side, it isn’t even a tough call for me who I would support. I support Trump, and am hopeful that he prevails. I think would be a shame [if Hillary Clinton wins].
Rumsfeld, later in the interview, doubled down on his support for Trump and offered advice to those Republicans who are still holding out against backing him:
The stakes are enormous. The choices are you can not vote, which as I say if you believe in Democracy is clearly the wrong choice, you can vote for a third party and known you’re going to lose which is kind of like not voting but it’s worse because you end up helping or hurting somebody when you don’t even know who it’s going to be—it’s like three quarters billiards and the balls are going to bounce around and you’re going to be surprised and affect things in a way that is adverse to your interests, or one of the two of them [Trump or Clinton]. And anyone who expects to agree 100 percent—I mean, look, everyone has a right to vote however they want. It’s a secret ballot and they can do what they want. A lot of the people who have spoken out against Mr. Trump are friends of mine, people I’ve worked with, people I respect—and it’s their perfect right to do that. For me, it’s not complicated. I put on a scale ‘who do I agree with most,’ ‘who do I disagree with most,’ and ‘who do I think would be the most damaging to our country’ and there’s no question that four more years of the Obama-Clinton approach to government—and the corruption we’ve seen—and the kinds of people who would be put in government or on the Supreme Court make it not a close call for me, despite any differences I may have with Mr. Trump. I expect differences. And I am perfectly comfortable with supporting him.