Americans have "no idea" what either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would do about foreign policy if they were elected as president, former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Robert Gates said Thursday, and he does not know what drives either one of their campaigns for the presidency.
"On the Democrat side, you wouldn't know we have a foreign policy because there's been no discussion really at all about national security policies," Gates told MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
"And on the Republican side, pretty much what you hear is uninformed bluster and threats. So the American people at this stage in the campaign have no idea what either one of those front-runners would do if they were elected president."
The world is complex and dangerous, he continued, "and the American people deserve to hear some carefully considered positions from these candidates on how they would handle these complex problems."
Gates, the author of "A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from 50 Years of Public Service"
said that he believes the first thing a president needs to know is "what he or she doesn't know," and to acknowledge that there is much they do not understand.
And when it comes to Clinton and Trump, Gates said he does not know if either is driven by a passion for leadership.
"I don't know what drives either one of these candidates," Gates said. "A long time ago, and Jon [Meacham] would know this better than anyone, the presidents, they sort of came to people rather than being chased.
"And sometimes you have the feeling that people, individuals want the job so much, they haven't thought about what they do with it once they got it. Once you catch the car, what are you going to do with it?"
But, he continued, "it'd sure be nice to hear either of them talk more realistically about what they actually would do to try and address some of the problems that we face, both internally and this very complex international situation, other than just basically yelling at each other."
Meanwhile, the contentious election is already having an impact on national security, said Gates.
"I think that there are some overseas that look at the United States and think we've lost our collective minds," he told show co-host Mika Brzezinski. "They are very concerned about what is going to happen as a result of our election, regardless of who gets elected.
"I think they are especially apprehensive about the unpredictability and the threats of Mr. Trump, and some of the things he's said, from Japan and South Korea having nuclear weapons to breaking off the relationship with China and so on and so forth. These are all serious concerns."
Gates has had his qualms with both Trump and Clinton, and said Thursday that if either calls him to step in for a cabinet position or as a running mate, he "learned a long time ago never to say never," but he'll be 73-years-old before the November election, and "frankly, I think I'm done working on my resume."
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