George H.W. Bush has sharp words for Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in a new biography

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Thanksgiving might be a little awkward at the Bush compound this year.

Former President George H.W. Bush had some harsh comments about his son Former President George W. Bush's cabinet members in a new biography, the New York Times reports.


The book, written by journalist and author Jon Meacham, is very humbly titled Destiny And Power: The American Odyssey Of George Herbert Walker Bush.

Bush reportedly says of Cheney that he "became very hard-line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with," adding that Cheney was "Just iron-ass. His seeming knuckling under to the real hard-charging guys who want to fight about everything, use force to get our way in the Middle East."

His criticism of Rumsfeld is arguably even harsher, calling his son's former Secretary of Defense an "arrogant fellow" and saying that he thinks "it hurt the president having his iron-ass view of everything."

As the Times points out, Bush the elder has remained silent about public figures in his son's administration in his past. But now we know at least one thing: he loves the term iron-ass. And for what it's worth, others (understandably) seem to love it too:


Fusion's own Adam Weinstein makes a good point about using the term as an insult, though:


Bush didn't leave his son out of the equation entirely, saying of Cheney's ability to assemble his own national security team "it’s not Cheney’s fault. It’s the president’s fault.”

George W. Bush hasn't gone silent on the matter. Shown a transcript of his father's remarks he told the Times "I disagree with his characterization of what was going on. I made the decisions. This was my philosophy." And per Reuters, his father hasn't commented on any of the response to the book just yet, since his spokesperson wasn't available.


The comments have garnered praise for Bush the elder on social media, including from Valerie Plame Wilson, who was outed as a CIA officer during George W. Bush's administration after her husband, U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about a fact-finding trip he took to Niger and its misuse by the Bush administration.


Rumsfeld hasn't commented on Bush's criticisms, but Cheney seems to have taken the criticism in stride. The former Vice President told Fox News that he takes the iron-ass comment "as a mark of pride" and that he's enjoying the new biography.

Easy for him to say.

Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at