Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake slammed former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ upcoming book as “extraordinarily bad timing, and form” on Twitter Tuesday night.
On social media Wednesday morning, the Arizona senator again explained his contention that “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” which reportedly contains scathing criticisms of Obama, was bad form.
“[F]or a former Secretary of Defense to be so critical of the current commander-in-chief, particularly on an issue like Afghanistan when negotiations over future security arrangements remain unresolved, strikes me as bad timing and bad form,” he wrote on Facebook.
Flake added that given Gates is a Republican, his actions will likely cause Obama and future presidents to take pause before reaching across the aisle when filling cabinet positions.
“Worse yet, it makes it less likely that this President, or future Presidents, will reach across the political or philosophical aisle when filling out his or her cabinet,” Flake wrote. “The country benefits when people with discordant views are in a position to challenge and shape a President’s views in private, when in matters most. This book makes that less likely to happen.”
The Republican did offer some positive words at the outset of his Facebook post, noting that he respects Gates and has “had the impression that he served the President and the country well.” Flake added that he also appreciated that Obama reached across the aisle in appointing him and sought council from a man as experienced as Gates.
The Washington Post reported details from Gates’ new book Tuesday evening, and some of the anecdotes that have emerged, prior to “Duty’s” official release on Jan. 14., offer an unflattering portrait of Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.