WASHINGTON — The Obama administration defended Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday after former Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote that the vice president “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
The quote comes from an upcoming memoir by Gates, who also served as defense secretary under George W. Bush, the president who nominated him to replace Donald Rumsfeld, and worked in many other administrations. Excerpts from the book in The New York Times and Washington Post paint a picture of Gates as frustrated by Obama administration control over the national security space.
In a statement by National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden Tuesday, the Obama administration pushed back on the excerpts and defended Biden.
“The president disagrees with Secretary Gates’ assessment — from his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world,” she said. “President Obama relies on his good counsel every day.”
Read the full statement:
“The president deeply appreciates Bob Gates’ service as secretary of defense, and his lifetime of service to our country. Deliberations over our policy on Afghanistan have been widely reported on over the years, and it is well known that the President has been committed to achieving the mission of disrupting, dismantling and defeating al Qaeda, while also ensuring that we have a clear plan for winding down the war, which will end this year. As has always been the case, the president welcomes differences of view among his national security team, which broaden his options and enhance our policies. The president wishes Secretary Gates well as he recovers from his recent injury, and discusses his book.”
“The president disagrees with Secretary Gates’ assessment – from his leadership on the Balkans in the Senate, to his efforts to end the war in Iraq, Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world. President Obama relies on his good counsel every day.”