Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served during the Obama administration, has turned into a harsh critic of the president, saying that Barack Obama always thinks he’s the smartest person in the room.
Gates also bashed Obama for bringing on advisers who do little else but constantly agree with his proposals, fostering a group-think environment where dissenting opinion essentially does not exist, The Free Beacon reports. In other words, there are no “strong” people around the president. And when there is dissent, Obama tries to crush it. Back in October, Politico reported that Obama’s advisers urged him to deal with Syria more aggressively, but the president refused to listen to advice. Now, the administration has been forced to acquiesce to Russian demands that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remain in power. Additionally, Russian airstrikes, which have proved to be far more effective than U.S. strikes, continue to stomp on the Obama administration’s foreign policy objectives.
“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 told Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, on Tuesday.
While Gates ostensibly appeared on Morning Joe to promote his new book on leadership, he veered off into discussing the president’s ability to govern effectively. In the current White House, Gates said that the greatest problem is the inability to develop and implement a strategy.
In a separate interview with Business Insider, Gates said that Obama’s biggest foreign policy achievement, namely the Iran nuclear deal, is likely to fall flat on its face, in that it will not cause Tehran to cease support for terror groups across the Middle East.
Gates has a history of critical comments during at Obama for majorly centralizing power and increasing the clout of the National Security Council to the detriment of the Pentagon, the FBI and other agencies.
Other defense secretaries have also chimed in on the subject.
Chuck Hagel, who said he was forced out because of his reticence to release detainees at the pace requested by the administration, said that the White House constantly engaged in “politically motivated micromanagement.”
A recent case of micromanagement came to the forefront in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, in which Obama instructed the FBI to downplay the terrorist angle when conducting an investigation.
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