Donald Trump’s campaign manager thinks former Defense Secretary Robert Gates was critical of Trump because Gates doesn’t understand terrorism, she suggested Sunday morning.
“Secretary Gates really should have, I think, in his book been a little bit more forceful about the fact that radical Islam has ideological moorings,” Kellyanne Conway said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” “He acts like terrorism is something like the weather. It just happens. And we as Americans know that’s not true.”
Trump and his campaign are on the attack after Gates published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday calling Trump “unfit” to be president. Trump referred to Gates as a “clown” in a campaign rally and “dopey” on social media.
Given his decades of experience and numerous high-level positions in the period after Sept. 11, 2001, Gates is likely well aware of the threat terrorism poses.
The alleged dopey clown spent much of his career with the Central Intelligence Agency, serving as director under President George H.W. Bush after a brief stint as his deputy national security advisor.
Gates was secretary of defense from late 2006 until mid-2011, taking over from Donald Rumsfeld under President George W. Bush and continuing through the first half of President Barack Obama’s first term. Gates managed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the book Conway references details his time in that office.
When pressed on Gates’ specific critique that Trump is thin-skinned, as demonstrated by his name-calling, Conway insisted Trump was “defending himself.”
“Mr. Trump has a right to defend himself from people who I don’t think are looking at the substance of his plans. They’re just ― they’re just judging someone they’ve never met,” she said.
Unfortunately, interviewer John Dickerson didn’t note that Trump had done the same thing at Saturday night’s rally.
“Never met the guy, never saw him. I saw him on television, didn’t like him. The end result is look where we are. He’s a mess, OK?” Trump said at his Colorado Springs event. “He’s a nasty guy. Probably has a problem that we don’t know about.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.