Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says President Barack Obama “has centralized power and operational activities of the government in the White House to a degree that I think is unparalleled.”
Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Gates, who served under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, affirmed host Joe Scarborough’s claim that Obama has to think that he is the smartest guy in the room.
Scarborough asked Gates, “President Obama has actually been criticized for always thinking he’s the smartest guy in the room… Did Barack Obama always think he was the smartest guy in the room?”
“You know, the president is quoted as having said at one point to his staff, ‘I can do every one of your jobs better than you can,'” Gates claimed.
Scarborough replied, “Oh, my God” and co-host Mika Brzezinski said, “Say no more.”
Gates continued, “And I think that — you know, I think he is — he has centralized power and operational activities of the government in the White House to a degree that I think is unparalleled.”
Obama has a National Security Council (NSC) “staff of 450 people at this point, and yet I think one of the great weaknesses of the White House is implementation of strategy, is difficulty in developing strategy and then implementing that strategy,” Gates argued.
“And I don’t see the kind of strong people around the president who will push back on him,” Gates said. “I will give him credit. I pushed back on him a lot and he never shut me down. He never told me to be quiet or refused to see me or anything like that. But I don’t see people around him like that now.”
Gates is the author of a new book entitled “A Passion for Leadership.”