Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told the Daily Mail in a Wednesday interview that Donald Trump will have his full support in November.
Rumsfeld said his decision to vote for Trump over Clinton was “not a close call,” citing the threat from “radical Islamists” and the need to limit how many refugees the U.S. accepts.
As the former secretary of defense put it, “Mrs. Clinton is a known known. Donald Trump is a known unknown who’s a recent entry into the equation. And I am a lot more comfortable with a known unknown, who I will support, than with a known known who is unacceptable.”
The language is borrowed from Rumsfeld’s 2002 comments describing the intelligence community’s lack of firm evidence affirming that the Iraqi government possessed weapons of mass destruction, the justification for the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Rumsfeld was particularly supportive of Trump’s opposition to resettling refugees from Syria over concerns that some who enter the U.S. may be terrorists.
“He’s absolutely right,” Rumsfeld told the Mail. “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.”
Trump told the Mail that he was “incredibly grateful” for Rumsfeld’s support in a statement, though he once referred to him as a “disaster” for his role in launching the Iraq War. Though the real estate mogul was not as early a critic of that military intervention as he likes to claim, he now calls it a “big fat mistake.”
Former George W. Bush administration staffers have offered mixed reactions to the prospect of a Trump presidency. Bush himself has said he will not endorse the presumptive GOP nominee and former Secretary of State Colin Powell has criticized Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, on the other hand, has said he will support Trump.”