Trump Responds to Robert Gates Criticism: "Because We're Doing So Well Under His Foreign Policy?"


Donald Trump reacts to former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates questioning his "discipline" as a commander in chief for his quick conclusion that then-missing Egypt Air plane was taken down by terrorists. Co-host Mika Brzezinski called Gates "one of the greatest foreign policy minds in history."

Thursday morning Trump had tweeted, "Looks like yet another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!"

"I think it prejudges the outcome," Gates said on Thursday's broadcast of MSNBC's Morning Joe. "Let's just suppose that it turns out not to be a terrorist event. Then what's the -- then what do you say having made these allegations and so on. So it's always better to wait until you actually know what the facts are before you open up. I realize that's it's very unusual thing in American politics, but it ought to be tried occasion loosely."

Trump responded to Gates on Friday's Morning Joe. Transcript, via MSNBC:

BRZEZINSKI: Donald, we had former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Robert Gates on the show yesterday. I'm going to play for you a bit of what he had to say.

He had concerns about both candidates, you and Hillary Clinton. Take a listen.


FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY ROBERT GATES: I think they are especially apprehensive about the unpredictability and the threats of Mr. Trump. And some of the things he has said, from having Japan and South Korea have nuclear weapons to breaking off the relationship with China and so on and so forth. These are all serious concerns.

And the problem -- the worry is that even before the election, countries begin to take steps to offset these dangers, or these perceived shifts in U.S. policy, in ways that put greater distance between ourselves and them in terms of cooperation in the future.


BRZEZINSKI: And Donald, I want to know what you think of those comments?

TRUMP: Well, the comments are wrong, because he knows nothing about me. He knows nothing about what I said. I'm not a big fan of his, by the way, because you take a look at two things.

Look at where our country is with years of him being involved. We are a mess, number one. I know he has a great reputation and all of that. All of these guys have a great reputation. They have been doing this stuff for 15 years. Look where our country is, OK? We need a new group with better thinking.

Number two, as far as Japan and South Korea are concerned. All I'm saying is we defend them. They are paying us a tiny fraction of what it's costing. We -- I want them to pay. I would love to continue to defend Japan. I would love to continue to defend South Korea. We have 28,000 soldiers on the line between North and South Korea right now.

It is costing us an absolute fortune, which we don't have. We're a debtor nation. I would like them to pay up. They have a lot of money, both of those nations. We take in Japan's cars by the millions. South Korea sells us, every time you buy televisions...

SCARBOROUGH: So, you don't have a problem with the troops staying there. You just want Japan and South Korea to pay us for their presence.

TRUMP: I want them to pay up.

SCARBOROUGH: Fair enough.

TRUMP: Because we are not a country -- this isn't 40 years ago and 20 years ago.


TRUMP: We are not a country that can afford to defend Saudi Arabia, Germany, the NATO nations, 28 NATO nations, many of which are not paying us and they're not living up to their agreement.


TRUMP: Japan, South Korea, nobody, we're like the dummies that protect everybody. All I'm saying is, we have to get reimbursed because we can't afford it.


BRZEZINSKI: OK, but Donald...

TRUMP: And nobody says that. And Bob Gates, who I don't know at all, but Bob Gates has no idea. See, they're misrepresenting it, he's misrepresenting it.

BRZEZINSKI: So Bob Gates is one of the greatest foreign policy minds in history. And I think the worry...

TRUMP: Oh, really, why? Because we're doing so well? You mean, you think we're doing well with his foreign policy, Mika?

BRZEZINSKI: Donald -- I think -- I think the worry also is just how you will be as president and present your positions and your words, and there are some concerns that you might be trigger-happy with your words. Like, for example...

TRUMP: Oh, really?


TRUMP: I'm the one that didn't want to go into Iraq, Mika.

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