Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said none of the 8 presidents he served would recognize the GOP today, saying its values are 'hard to find these days'
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© CBS Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates on "Face the Nation" on Sunday. CBS
- Robert Gates told CBS on Sunday that traditional GOP values were "hard to find these days."
- He said none of the presidents he served, including five Republicans, would recognize the party now.
- He agreed that Trump's election claims gave enemies an opportunity to say the US is "a declining power."
- See more stories on Insider's business page.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates rebuked the Republican Party on Sunday, saying none of the presidents he served would recognize it today.
"I worked for eight presidents. Five of them were Republicans. I don't think any of them would recognize the Republican Party today," Gates, a Republican, told CBS News' "Face the Nation."
"The values and the principles that the Republican Party stood for under those five presidents are hard to find these days," he told the host John Dickerson.
Dickerson also asked whether the Capitol riot and former President Donald Trump's baseless claims that the 2020 election was rigged gave "an opportunity to America's enemies to say America is a declining power," and Gates said he agreed.
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But Gates said he didn't think many Republican lawmakers actually thought the 2020 election was fraudulent, calling the claim "political gaming rather than a real conviction."
He also praised Rep. Liz Cheney, who earlier this month was ousted from her congressional GOP leadership role for refusing to back Trump's election-fraud claims, saying she was a person "of real integrity."
Gates began his career with the CIA in the late 1960s and ended it as President Barack Obama's defense secretary in 2011. He had also served Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush.