A veteran defense secretary from President Barack Obama's administration, Robert Gates, defended President Donald Trump's Week 1 use of executive orders, including Friday's hard-liners on immigration, warning the media Sunday in being too judgmental too soon.
"Any effort to strengthen national security to improve the vetting process, I think that's all perfectly reasonable and totally legitimate," Gates told ABC's Martha Raddatz on Sunday's "This Week." "In fact, we would expect that of the president.
"The key is doing it in a way that doesn't risk creating more enemies than threats it deters – and that's the balance that has to be weighed."
Gates added some concern shared by "former senior commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan" about the presentation of "this order" impacting some former Iraqi's who aided operations there who were "promised safe haven in the United States and now may not get it."
Raddatz asked Gates, "Will this make Rex Tillerson's job as secretary of state that much harder?"
"Probably," Gates responded. "There will be a negative reaction in many countries."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a noted Trump critic, echoed those concerns Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," saying Trump's orders might fuel the fire of ISIS with "some more propaganda."
Raddatz also asked Gates if he had "complete confidence" in President Trump's use of executive orders this week.
"It's one week in; I think that's a little early," Gates rejected, before being interrupted by Raddatz, the host who once was caught up debating Trump herself during his own debate with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
"We need a little perspective, Martha," Gates added. "I mean, every administration I worked for begins with a flurry of executive orders overturning what their predecessors did – or amplifying it in the case of the first president [George H.W.] Bush – so let's just give him a little time."
Gates did conclude by repeating some of the U.S. military's concern above about the impact of Trump's indefinite Syrian refugee ban and an "extreme vetting" hold of foreign visa-holders from seven countries.
"I do worry about the impact of this executive order in terms of the way it's received around the world," Gates told Raddatz.
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