Ex-Defense Secretary Gates: U.S. "seems to be coming unhinged"

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·1 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

"Extreme polarization" in the U.S. is the "greatest threat" to the country's democracy, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Why it matters: The Republican, who served eight presidents, including stints as CIA director, and later as defense secretary for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, added that the "greatest threat is found within the two square miles that encompass the White House and the Capitol Building."

Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.

  • "The attack on the Capitol was the first time armed enemies of democracy had been in the Capitol since the War of 1812," said Gates on the Jan. 6 insurrection, noting that "seeing somebody parading through the Capitol carrying a Confederate flag, that never happened during the Civil War."

What else he's saying: Gates said in his interview with Anderson Cooper that he's confused by some lawmakers who are in "denial" about the Capitol riot.

  • "These same people who were terrified on January 6th, and whose lives were in danger, to now basically say, 'Well, these are just your normal tourists,'" Gates said, in an apparent reference to Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), who's described the attack as such previously.

  • "The whole of our society seems to be coming unhinged," Gates said. "I've never seen so much hatred."

Of note: On former President Trump's repeated baseless claims that he didn't lose the 2020 presidential election, Gates said: "It underscores the theme that China is sounding around the world that the United States political system doesn't work, and that the United States is a declining power."

Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting