- Rumsfeld tells DailyMail.com that he will vote for the Republicans’ presumptive nominee because he’s a ‘known unknown’ and Hillary Clinton is a ‘known known’
- 9/11-era defense secretary is one of the most senior Republican figures to come out publicly for Trump
- He says Hillary Clinton isn’t qualified to sit in the Oval Office, and ‘would probably be indicted’ over her emails if she were a junior military grunt
- Trump launched an all-out attack on Hillary Clinton on Wednesday at a speech in New York in which he lambasted her as a ‘world-class liar’
- Rumsfeld spoke in an interview while promoting his Android ‘Churchill Solitaire’ app, which recreates Winston Churchill’s favorite card game
Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Wednesday that he will support Donald Trump with his vote in November.
The declaration, which Rumsfeld made in an interview with DailyMail.com, makes him the highest-ranking member of the George W. Bush administration to back the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee.
It’s ‘not a close call,’ he said in a 25-minute phone interview.
Rumsfeld said he agrees in principle with Trump’s position on reforming the NATO alliance, keeping Syrian refugees at bay over fears of terrorist infiltration, and other issues.
And besides, he added, ‘I’m a Republican, and there’s not any doubt in my mind how I’ll vote,’ and ‘I don’t believe Hillary Clinton is qualified to be President of the United States.’
‘I am incredibly grateful for the support of Secretary Rumsfeld, and I am very honored he supports my stances on NATO, the need to defeat ISIS and stop immigration of Syrian refugees,’ Trump told DailyMail.com in a statement.
Bush, the 43rd president, has given no indication that he will back Trump, who bounced his younger brother Jeb from a vicious GOP primary process this year.
The former president has indicated that he won’t attend July’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, an event already being talked about as ‘The Trump Show’ inside party circles.
Colin Powell, the Bush-era secretary of state, has been openly hostile to Trump over his immigration positions.
‘Let’s tell all the immigrants working in Trump hotels to stay home tomorrow. See what happens,’ he told the Washington Ideas Forum last October.
Rumsfeld said Powell’s opposition to his party’s standard bearer is unsurprising.
‘He supported Obama, Colin did! That’s nothing new,’ he said.
Rumsfeld spoke with DailyMail.com as part of a media tour aimed at promoting the release of his ‘Churchill Solitaire’ app on the Android platform.
The iPhone version has been downloaded more than 650,000 times and represents Winston Churchill’s favorite version of the play-alone card game.
Rumsfeld said he learned the game in 1973 from André de Staercke, a Belgian NATO diplomat, who learned it 30 years earlier from Churchill himself.
‘I was afraid it would be lost to the ages,’ he said Wednesday, while admitting the technology mystified him at first.
‘I didn’t even know what an app was!’ he marveled. ‘Don’t tell anyone.’
An animated Rumsfeld, 83, was even more eager to talk about the Trump phenomenon, saying that a year ago ‘you could count on one hand’ the number of people who thought he would be the GOP nominee.
While the former defense secretary said he and Trump have never met, he agrees with the real estate tycoon about what Trump calls the potential for a ‘Trojan horse’ infiltration of terrorists among the Syrian refugees whom the Obama administration has been resettling in the U.S.
‘He’s absolutely right,’ he said. ‘Anyone who thinks the radical Islamists are not going to try to utilize every venue they can find to infiltrate in the United States, and in western European countries, to achieve their goals – these people just don’t get it.’
‘They’ve announced what they’re going to do,’ he said of the ISIS terror army.
On the refugee crisis and the need for a NATO reboot, Rumsfeld said he has arrived at a Trump-aligned position through a different line of argument.
‘We’ve got an enormous obligation’ to help fleeing Syrians, he said, ‘and the United Nations is so incompetent and inept and unhelpful … this refugee problem is the most heartbreaking thing in the world.’
But instead of politicizing the issue and moving the refugees halfway around the world, he said, the U.S. should be mobilizing regional powers to give them somewhere to flee to.
‘We’ve got an obligation to provide safe zones for them,’ he said. ‘We’ve got to be proactive rather than arguing whether we should have 1000 or 2000 or 3000’ in the United States.
‘How is what I’ve said different from what he’s said?’ he asked, referring to Trump – whose position is nearly identical but contains an extra layer of terrorism rhetoric.
‘The way he said it got him the Republican nomination for president. The way I said it makes people’s eyes glaze over’ but is ‘less concerning to some people.’
‘The only real difference is [that] one is striking a nerve.’