Donald Rumsfeld laid responsibility for the attack on Benghazi at the feet of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview on Meet the Press Sunday.
The former secretary of defense under President George W. Bush said that the controversy over administration talking points following the attack that left four Americans dead was eroding public trust in Obama’s presidency.
“You think of a manager, a leader,” Rumsfeld said. “When something like this happens, you call people in, you sit them down, and you let them know that you intend to find ground truth fast. And he [Obama] seems not to have done that.”
“I think people looking at the changed stories on Benghazi and the way the talking points were altered are of a view that they were trying to support a narrative that, in fact, did not exist,” he said.
Rumsfeld himself has been accused of creating a false narrative in the build-up to the Iraq War. In his 2011 autobiography, Known and Unknown, Rumsfeld said that he had made a “misstatement” about Saddam Hussein storing weapons of mass destruction in Baghadad and Tikrit, which was one of the justifications for going to war.
At the time, Rumsfeld denied that the Bush administration had deliberately misled the public about the threat that Iraq posed to the American people.
“While I made a few misstatements—in particular the one mentioned above—they were not common and certainly not characteristic,” Rumsfeld wrote. “Other senior administration officials also did a reasonably good job of representing the intelligence community’s assessments accurately in their public comments about Iraqi WMD, despite some occasionally imperfect formulations.”
A new CNN poll Sunday showed that, while a majority of Americans said that both Benghazi and the IRS are important issues and that the GOP was not overreacting to them, 53% of the public still said that they approved of Obama’s job performance.