George H.W. Bush Tears Into Cheney and Rumsfeld

Barry Thumma/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


In an upcoming new biography, former president George H.W. Bush is finally revealing what he thinks about his son’s former aides, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. And he’s not pulling any punches.

Describing Cheney as an “iron-ass” and Rumsfeld as “arrogant,” the 91-year-old Bush told his biographer Jon Meacham that he believed his son’s presidency was ultimately “hurt” by the two confidantes, both of whom have been viewed as wielding an unprecedented level of authority with then-President George W. Bush.

Although he maintains that Cheney, who also served as the elder Bush’s secretary of defense, is a “good man,” Bush reveals he was taken aback by the hawkish stance “the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with” adopted following the attacks on September 11.

“The reaction to 9/11, what to do about the Middle East—just iron-ass,” he is quoted saying in the new book. “His seeming knuckling under to the real hard-charging guys who want to fight about everything, use force to get our way in the Middle East…”

As for Rumsfeld, Bush appeared even more critical.

“I’ve never been that close to him anyway,” he told Meacham. “There’s a lack of humility, a lack of seeing what the other guy thinks. He’s more kick ass and take names, take numbers. I think he paid a price for that.”

In 2006, Rumsfeld stepped from his post as secretary of defense after a group of retired generals called for his resignation.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate