September 10th, 2007
03:46 PM ET
15 years ago

Rumsfeld on whether he misses Bush: 'No'

Bush announces Rumsfeld's resignation November 8, 2006, the day after the midterm elections.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Donald Rumsfeld served as President Bush's Secretary of Defense for six years, but he told GQ magazine he doesn't miss his old boss and the two now rarely talk.

In an issue set to hit the newsstands on Sept. 25, Rumsfeld tells the magazine he still likes Bush but can't recall the last time he spoke with the president.

And asked directly if he misses the president, Rumsfeld told the Magazine, "Um, no."

But Rumsfeld offered Bush praise, and claimed that he is a victim of the media not giving him enough credit in a similar fashion that previous Republican presidents have had to endure.

"Just think, in my lifetime, the Republican presidential candidates: Dwight D. Eisenhower, considered to be a bumbler, bad syntax. Gerald Ford, the best athlete they had in decades, and they called him a stumblebum and demeaned him and made fun of him. Said he wasn't smart, which he was. He'd gone to Michigan, he'd gone to Yale Law School. I mean… And Ronald Reagan. You read his diaries now, and the man is remarkable - and yet he was dismissed as a movie actor and not very smart.”

Rumseld added, "So, I mean the fact that President Bush is demeaned is no different than Eisenhower or Ford or Reagan. And the fact that people believe that to be the case is not a surprise when they're told it day in, day out, by the, uh, eastern media."

Rumsfeld was also frank about his relationship with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, with whom he repeatedly butted heads.

"No! We're not close, never were," he said of Powell when asked if he missed the former secretary of state.

Rumsfeld, who officially resigned the day before the 2006 midterm elections (a move that was not announced until the day after), also said he likely would have stayed on at the Pentagon if Republicans held control of Congress. (Related: Rumsfeld's resignation letter)

"It was very clear in my mind that if the Democrats won the House or the Senate or both, that it made sense for met to…that it would be best for the department if someone else was there," he said.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Donald Rumsfeld
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Erica, Seattle, Washington

    I would like to read George Bush's diaries and hear his honest opinions about the issues occurring in the rest of the world. I can understand if he was caught up in the chaos if presidency, but if he couldn't handle it, why did he run?

    September 10, 2007 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Not Important

    One of the worst SoD the United States has ever seen. Good riddence – one can only hope that you are held accountable for your mistakes and lined up against the wall with the rest of your co-conspirators.

    September 10, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. RJ, AZ

    Yes, because misrepresenting former Presidents in the media MUST imply that Bush Jr. is a scholar among men, right?! The difference with Bush is that he doesn't need the media to spin anything about him...he creates all his own negative spin all by himself. If he's really that smart and we stupid, "common" Americans simply can't comprehend his grand design then maybe the White House should open up and show us all the stuff they've been keeping locked up. I'm SURE there's some genius work hidden behind all those skeletons somewhere...surely...

    September 10, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. A. Gordon; Denver, CO

    Rummy really just didn't compare Bush to Gerald Ford did he? I mean seriously now...

    I'm going to go out on a limb here but I'm willing to bet that Ford's daddy wasn't the reason Ford got into Yale Law and I'm sure as h*ll he wasn't a C student like Bush Jr.

    Maybe it's just me, but Bush's antics over the last 7 years have placed him in a category all his own and I really don't think he has to worry about any company for centuries to come...

    September 10, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    Rumsfeld is a sad bitter man. He was thrown under the bus by his friends in crime. he was no more or less guilty than they were but someone had to go and an appearance of change was made.
    Frankly if there was true justice all of them would be out of office and on trial for the war crime of starting a war under false pretenses and crimes against humanity as we (the USA) helped define after WW2 with the trials at Nuremberg.

    September 10, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. not Important

    Ahh, my comments got removed because I voiced what I feel should happen to Rumsfeld. So much fold holding the constitution in tact, eh? We should give them an ice cream party for committing treason!

    September 10, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. spinstopper

    Rumsfeld's legacy is the greatest military in history. A miliary that would be but a hollow shell of itself had the dems in Congress been given their way..

    September 10, 2007 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. RB, from the Bay State

    The interview with GQ should have been conducted from a jail cell. That's where this wretched man should be residing for all the harm he's done to America.

    September 10, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. Erik, Austin TX

    "but can't recall the last time he spoke with the president."

    Good to see he's still keeping it real with the "can't recall" gig. After all that time in this administration of apparent amnesiacs, it's a wonder he can remember his own name.

    September 10, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Nads, Atlanta GA

    The 'eastern media'? My entirely accurate impression of GWB as a moron must have come from those darn Chinese newspapers.

    September 10, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Johnny Chicago

    What good would Bush diaries do you? First of all, I'm confident that he probably cannot read or write. Second of all, I know that he lies to himself because there is no other way he would belive all the crap that comes out of his own mouth otherwise.

    September 10, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Geoff, Alameda, CA

    Notice that in his list of "misrepresented" Republican Presidents, he conveniently omitted Nixon... the MOST comparable to the current Scumbag in Chief out of the bunch!

    If only the current administration could be impeached, or also resign prior to it...

    September 10, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. O. Echevarria, New York City, New York

    How can Rumsfeld even compare Ford or Reagan?! These presidents lived under different eras and time. The current president has his own faults, fortunately, the American people see through it after going into a undeclared war under false pretenses and using 9/11 as a rallying excuse to do so. There is no love lost here for this man, Rumsfeld. He did more of a disservice to the country by staying than actually having any form of principles.

    What is worse than anything is that none of these people will be held accountable for committing near treason, plundering the country's wealth, mass murder of innocent civilians and the destruction of a country.

    I am for defending our nation, but, not under false pretenses. If the country needs to go to war, than it is the job of Congress to declare it and define set goals. Truly a tragedy for the history books and the American and Iraqi people.

    September 10, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. John, Ca.

    Yeah, you were just misunderstood, and just didn't get credit where credit was due from that damnable 'liberal media'!???


    There is a special place in hell for you and those of your ilk!

    September 10, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    The media doesn't need to demean Bush, he does it quite well by himself.

    During the APEC summit in Australia, Bush appeared to have been acting in an SNL skit:

    – Referred to Australia as Austria 3 times.
    – Called the summit OPEC instead of APEC and further embarrassed himself by saying that maybe they would invite him to their next summit (Australia and the US are not members).
    – Couldn't even find the exit off the stage.

    Yeah, the guy is a genius and is undeservedly maligned by the evil liberal media!!

    BTW, Rumsfeld sounds like a guy who has few friends.

    September 10, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Michael Smith, New Orleans

    "Rummy, you're doing a heck of a job." - President Bush

    "Rummy, you're fired." - President Bush

    Rumsfeld is right where he belongs – in the past.

    September 10, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  17. Karen, Dallas Texas

    He does have a point.... Not that I expect liberals to ever realize it though.

    September 10, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  18. C. Williams, Maryland

    spinstopper, Rumsfeld did not create "The greatest military in history." He neutered it. His doctrine of "Transformation" and "Shock and Awe" crippled the US Army's ability to fight a counterinsurgency by dramatically cutting back on our Infantry, and we are still paying for his idiocy in Iraq today.

    September 10, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. Christian, Tampa FL

    "Rumsfeld's legacy is the greatest military in history."

    How could anyone say that? Rummy took the greatest military in history and drove it into the ground, where it still remains.

    September 10, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    Rummy makes it sound like Bush is unforgettable. "BINGO" – Rummy shoots and scores – to the consternation of the entire civilized (and uncivilized)world!

    September 10, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI Saneville

    What a story! Rumsfeld should write a book!

    I just have to wonder, if he can compare Bush to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan what Great Statesman does he compare himself to! 🙂 This man cracks me up! HAHAHA

    I can see how George and Him were good buddies they both have the same problem. They're Delusional and on a Grandios Scale!!! 🙂 Must be a great way to keep the stress level at a low ebb though eh? When things get tough you just imagine yourself to be a Great Man like Eisenhower, Ford or Reagan untill your delusional self actually believes your HE! HAHA Mind over Matter...I heard of that...but never in my wildest dreams imagined it worked that well! Amazing! 🙂

    Best Laugh I've had all day....Thanks Rummy! I bet Rummy gets signed up for Comedy Hour!

    Anyone want to bet me an American Loonie on that one? HA

    September 10, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. JeremyT, AUSTRALIA

    Haha it is no wonder the world is becoming so tired of Americans. What happened to you people? Your pride has gone out the window. You used to be the most patriotic bunch of people to walk the planet. You were admired for your zero tolerance policies towards hostile countries and extremist groups. But now you have all gone soft. You threatened to bring hell on earth to any country that attacked your soil, or threatened attack, but then you can't handle seeing your threats carried out on CNN. If that is not bad enough... Now you blame every little thing on yourselves and your President. Thank god Bush is a president who focusses on progress instead of popularity... because without a leader like that, i'm confident the majority of you would be lost.

    September 10, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. Cooper, Mill Creek Washington

    Rumsfeld is a straight shooting, terrorist fighting, America loving man. God Bless you Rummy... You are surely missed.

    September 10, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Sam Spud West Royalty PEI

    JeremyT, AUSTRALIA

    ahhhh I think you got that backwards haven't ya?

    It's the Leaders that are lost and the Americans that are looking for one. Uhhhh A Good One that is. And as it stands, that's no small feat!

    September 10, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. Erik, Austin TX

    JeremyT, we do and did support attacking anyone who attacked us. That's why we went into Afghanistan, and that's why that war was almost universally supported.

    Then, Bush decided to attack a country that most of us knew (or would have known had he not been lying to us about it) had nothing at all to do with the attacks, and posed almost no threat to our nation. That's when everything sort of went off the rails, and we started on the path to where we are today.

    September 10, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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