Gates: I’d Rather Trump, Cruz Be ‘Cynical and Opportunistic’ Than Think They Believe This Stuff

Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” the former Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011 Robert Gates said he would rather believe Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)  are being “cynical and opportunistic,” when they say hyperbolic things on the campaign trail instead of thinking “they really believe this stuff.”

Partial Transcript as follows:

MITCHELL: That’s the question for Robert Gates who served eight presidents including head of the CIA for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The Republican himself, he’s now dishing out strong criticism of both of front runners. And in a new book entitled a passion for leadership, he offers his insight into being an effective leader. Here’s part of our

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MITCHELL: Your new book is about leadership. You were speaking last week about leadership and said middle school kids would be embarrassed by the level of dialogue in this presidential campaign.’ Please explain.

GATES: I was referring in particularly, how to deal with ISIS and comments I was referring to were about carpet bombing them and making the sand glow and other such things.

MITCHELL: Carpet bombing and Donald Trump taking away thier oil and taking away all their about assets.

GATES: My mind view is they either really don’t understand how difficult this is or they’re being pretty cynical and opportunistic and putting forward simple solutions that are simply unattainable so to speak suggesting to the American people that these are complex problems that are going to take time to solve.

MITCHELL: Either way, should that be disqualified for anyone wanting to be commander-in-chief?

GATES: In a way, I’d rather that they be cynical and opportunistic to believe they really believe this stuff.

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