George H.W. Bush has mostly remained silent about his son’s presidency–until now.
Bush, who is releasing an upcoming biography, contains harsh words for some of the top officials in the presidency of his son, George W. Bush.
He slammed Vice President Dick Cheney and ex-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when speaking with his biographer, Jon Meacham, who is penning the book, “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush.” H
He describes Rumsfeld as “an arrogant fellow” and said that Cheney had grown “very hard line” in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York City.
“I don’t know, he just became very hard-line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with,” Bush told Meacham, according to CNN. Cheney was an aide under him as well.
He added that he felt Cheney carved out his “own empire” inside the White House. “He had his own empire there and marched to his own drummer,” Meacham quotes Bush as saying.
“It just showed me that you cannot do it that way. The President should not have that worry,” Bush noted.
Then after the Twin Towers attacks, he said Cheney watned “to fight about everything [and] use force to get our way in the Middle East.”
Bush said that Cheney’s wife, Lynne, a historian and conservative thinker, influenced him as well.
“You know, I’ve concluded that Lynne Cheney is a lot of the eminence grise here — iron-ass, tough as nails, driving,” Bush told Meacham.
But he later described Cheney as “a good man,” ultimately.
Bush, however, didn’t have many nice things to say about Rumsfeld.
“I don’t like what he did, and I think it hurt the President, having his iron-[expletive] view of everything,” Bush told Meacham. “There’s a lack of humility, a lack of seeing what the other guy thinks. He’s more kick [expletive] and take names, take numbers. I think he paid a price for that.”
The elder Bush also directed criticism toward his son.
He said, “I do worry about some of the rhetoric that was out there — some of it his, maybe, and some of it the people around him … Hot rhetoric is pretty easy to get headlines, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the diplomatic problem,” according to USA Today.
As a result of his father’s comments, George W. Bush issued a statement that essentially praised and defended the former aides from his father.
“I am proud to have served with Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld,” the younger Bush said, adding that Cheney “did a superb job,” while Rumsfeld “was an effective Secretary of Defense.”