- The Washington Times - Friday, May 20, 2016

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump brushed aside concerns raised this week about his candidacy by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, saying he’s “not a big fan” of Mr. Gates and that he “knows nothing about me.”

“Look at where our country is with years of him being involved,” Mr. Trump said of the former security adviser on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday. “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.”

Mr. Gates, who served in the Obama and Bush administrations, told Yahoo News that he is not yet comfortable Mr. Trump’s candidacy and that he is waiting to see what sort of team he assembles around himself.

“Right now? No,” Mr. Gates said when asked if he would be comfortable with Mr. Trump controlling the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

“But the question is, does he moderate his views on national security issues going forward?” he said. “Does he begin to have some more informed views about the complexities of some of these issues, some of the challenges that we face? And who does he choose as his advisers? If all of those things turned out in a positive way, then my concerns would be significantly reduced.”

Mr. Gates declined to say whether he believes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Mr. Trump has a better temperament for the job.

He said Mrs. Clinton made a mistake by supporting the intervention in Libya without having post-regime plan in place and said her use of private email server raised questions about her judgment.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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