In a recent interview on CBS’ “Sunday Morning,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked whether Hillary Rodham Clinton would make a good president. He responded, “Actually, I think she would.”
Gates is a veteran who has served eight presidents and knows as well as anyone the characteristics of a good president. I worked with him in my role as brigadier general of the United States Army and then as the chief operations officer and deputy director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, and I have known Clinton, the former secretary of State, for many years. I must say I wholeheartedly agree with Gates: Hillary Rodham Clinton would make an excellent president.
From my nearly 30 years spent in the Armed Forces, I recognize the importance of strong leadership and experience in a president. I have traveled extensively with Clinton, I have watched her perform and I am convinced she is a true leader. I appreciate her foreign policy work and her support for those who serve our country.
The first senator from New York on the Armed Services Committee, then-Sen. Clinton worked across party lines to expand health care for National Guard members and reservists. Gates also told CBS that Clinton had become a close ally in the administration. “The thing that I liked best about Secretary Clinton, other than the fact that she has a great sense of humor, was she is very tough-minded,” he said.
In a recent interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, Gates went on to praise Clinton’s record at the State Department, saying that he “never heard her as Secretary of State discuss domestic politics in any way, shape or form as influencing her recommendations to the president.”
Gates had strong praise for Clinton in his newly released memoir, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War.” He wrote that he “found her smart, idealistic, pragmatic, tough-minded, indefatigable, funny, a very valuable colleague, and a superb representative of the United States all over the world.”
The politicizing of Gates’ memoir has permeated the media, and as Gates described it, “the book has sort of been hijacked by people along the political spectrum to serve their own purposes.” Both parties have tried to use his words in their favor.
At the end of the day, Gates’ deep admiration and respect for Clinton is clear. After years of serving our country alongside her, he believes she would make a good president. I too, am confident that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be an excellent choice to lead our country and would make an exceptional president and commander in chief.
Brigadier General John M. Watkins Jr. served nearly 30 years in the Army and completed his military career as the chief operations officer/deputy director of the Defense Information Systems Agency.