Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under President Gerald Ford and President George W. Bush, and oversaw the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan and the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein in Iraq, has passed away at the age of 88 years old, the Rumsfeld family announced in a Wednesday statement.
The statement reads: “It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald Rumsfeld, an American statesman and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico. History may remember him for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service, but for those who knew him best and whose lives were forever changed as a result, we will remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family and friends, and the integrity he brought to a life dedicated to country.”
A statement from the family of Donald Rumsfeld: pic.twitter.com/AlKYxVvqgF
— Donald Rumsfeld (@RumsfeldOffice) June 30, 2021
Regarded by former colleagues as equally smart and combative, patriotic and politically cunning, Rumsfeld had a storied career under four presidents and nearly a quarter century in corporate America.
In 2001 he began his second tour as Pentagon chief under President George W. Bush, but his plan to “transform” the armed forces was overshadowed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He oversaw the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, where he was blamed for setbacks including the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and for being slow to recognize a violent insurgency.
Rumsfeld endorsed then-presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News ahead of the party’s convention.
“You look at the two choices—and as I look at Mrs. Clinton, I find her unacceptable as a presidential prospect. She is clearly corrupt. She is clearly on the wrong side of every major threat we face. She would represent another four years of the Obama administration,” Rumsfeld stated. “Can you imagine President Obama went to the Coast Guard Academy and said that the major threat facing the young graduates at the Coast Guard Academy was global warming? That’s breathtaking. I think of that and I’ve spoken to the Academies over the years and what an unfortunate thing to tell those people. It’s a different kind of a problem. In any event, I don’t think we can afford another four or eight years of what we’ve been doing.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.