Donald Rumsfeld was left momentarily speechless on Thursday morning when asked by The View’s Whoopi Goldberg if he has “ever seen anything” like the Trump White House in his five-decade political career. “It’s different,” he said after a long pause. “You may have noticed.”
But like his fellow Bush administration official Condoleezza Rice, who earlier this month told The View she feels “bad” for Trump, Rumsfeld was extremely hesitant to criticize the president amidst the growing scandal that has some in his own party suggesting impeachment could be necessary.
As Joy Behar reminded Rumsfeld, he was in President Richard Nixon’s cabinet during the Watergate scandal. Though, as he pointed out, “I did not go to jail.”
“I knew nothing about it, and I was sent over as ambassador to NATO, and all that went on, and it was a terrible tragedy for our country, and the first time in our history when a president had to resign,” Rumsfeld said. “Let's hope it never happens again.”
Behar pushed back strongly on the notion that Nixon’s resignation was a “tragedy,” saying, “He was a crook.” She went on to lay out the various similarities between Watergate and Trump’s current Russia scandal. “There was a break-in in the Watergate complex, in this case, there was a Russian break-in on the internet. Similar, no?” she asked. “There are many similarities. He fired, what’s his name? Archibald Cox, the lead investigator. Trump fired his lead investigator, Comey.”
But for Rumsfeld, “suggesting that we're at a point that approximates Watergate is a stretch.” Even if it is found that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the election, he would not commit to saying the president should be impeached.
“Why do you want to engage in hypotheticals?” he asked. “This man was elected president of the United States. There is an investigation on the subject you have cited, which is perfectly appropriate. Every administration has investigations. Nothing has been concluded, but I have a sense you may be jumping to conclusions.”
“Do we think other countries haven't messed around in our country before?” Rumsfeld added, seeming to dismiss the fact that Russia interfered in the 2016 election as business as usual. “Lots of countries are interested in making mischief in our country.”
At this point, Rumsfeld is not even willing to entertain the notion that President Trump and his team were in on that effort.