Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush defended his son George W. Bush, another former U.S. president, by bashing people in the latter’s administration. He is particularly critical about the then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the then Vice President Dick Cheney.
Bush Sr. said what Rumsfeld had done “hurt” his son as a president. According to the former president, Rumsfeld is arrogant and lacks humility. He also believes the former secretary of defense has paid price for that.
In his biography, "Destiny And Power: The American Odyssey Of George Herbert Walker Bush," the senior Bush told Jon Meacham that Cheney’s reaction to the 9/11 was “iron-ass.”
“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," Fox News quoted Bush Sr. as telling Meacham. "I don't know, he just became very hardline and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with."
Cheney was the defense secretary during Bush Sr.’s presidency (1989-1993). He later became the vice president when Bush Jr. became the president.
While Rumsfeld refused to comment, Cheney said he took it as a compliment when Bush Sr. called him “iron-ass.”
"The attack on 9/11 was worse than Pearl Harbor, in terms of the number people killed, and the amount of damage done," he said. "I think a lot of people believed then, and still believe to this day that I was aggressive in defending, in carrying out what I thought were the right policies."
The 41st U.S. president blames the “hawkish” attitude of Cheney and Rumsfeld for hurting his son’s ambitions. The book is based on audio diaries recorded by Bush Sr. during his tenure in the White House. Meacham took interviews of the former First Lady Barbara as well, The Guardian reported.
Bush Sr. presumes that Cheney’s conservative daughter and wife, Lynne and Liz, might have been responsible for pushing Cheney to take a hard line approach. Cheney, however, laughed off the claim.