Bush Sr takes swipes at Cheney, Rumsfeld

Dick Cheney.
Dick Cheney.
Donald Rumsfeld.
Donald Rumsfeld.

WASHINGTON • Former United States President George H. W. Bush takes some unexpected swipes at Mr Dick Cheney and Mr Donald Rumsfeld - key members of his son's administration - over their reaction to the Sept 11 attacks, in a new biography of the 41st president, Fox News reported on Wednesday.

In Destiny And Power: The American Odyssey Of George Herbert Walker Bush, author Jon Meacham quotes Mr Bush as saying that Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld were too hawkish and that their harsh stance damaged the reputation of the US, the cable news network said.

Speaking of Mr Cheney, who was vice-president under President George W. Bush, the senior Bush said: "I don't know, he just became very hard-line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with," according to the report.

Mr Cheney served as defence secretary during the elder Mr Bush's 1989 to 1993 presidency. "The reaction (to Sept 11), what to do about the Middle East. Just 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," Mr Bush told Meacham in the book to be published next Tuesday.

BUSH ON DICK CHENEY

The reaction (to Sept 11), what to do about the Middle East. Just 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.

Mr Bush believes Mr Cheney acted too independently of his son by creating a national security team in his own office, and may have been influenced to become more conservative by his wife Lynne and daughter Liz, the report cites the biography as saying.

BUSH ON DONALD RUMSFELD

I don't like what he did, and I think it hurt the President (referring to his son). I've never been that close to him anyway. 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. Rumsfeld was an arrogant fellow.

On Mr Rumsfeld, secretary of defence for most of the two terms served by his son, Mr Bush is even more critical.

He is quoted as saying: "I don't like what he did, and I think it hurt the President," referring to his son.

"I've never been that close to him anyway. 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. Rumsfeld was an arrogant fellow," he was quoted as saying in the biography.

Fox News quoted Mr Cheney as denying his family had influenced his views, saying: "It's his view, perhaps, of what happened, but my family was not conspiring to somehow turn me into a tougher, more hardnosed individual. I got there all by myself."

Mr Bush's spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Mr Rumsfeld declined to comment on the book, Fox News said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2015, with the headline 'Bush Sr takes swipes at Cheney, Rumsfeld'. Print Edition | Subscribe