After months of silence, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice finally has her review ready of the charges in former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir that she was never critical of George W. Bush’s positions and was ill-equipped for a senior administration role: “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Rice had declined interview requests on Rumsfeld’s book, “Known and Unknown,” since it hit the bookshelves in February, but in a question-and-answer feature with The New York Times Magazine that will be in Sunday’s issue, Rice said Rumsfeld’s take on her time as secretary of state and, before that, as national security adviser, could only have been invented.
“I don’t think he was ever in the room with the president and me when I would follow the president from a national security meeting and tell him precisely what was going on in that room,” Rice told the Times. “We tended to do it privately.”
Rumsfeld also suggested that Rice did not have the skills to manage a major government office. “She’d been an academic. And, you know, a lot of academics like to have meetings,” he said in one interview. “And they like to bridge differences and get people all to be happy.”
But Rice countered that her academic experience as provost of Stanford University was not so modest and “not so easy.” She added: “I don’t know what Don was trying to say, and it really doesn’t matter. Don can be a grumpy guy. We all know that.”
The interview reached beyond her time in the Bush administration as Rice said Harry Truman was the greatest president since World War II, even including “my great hero, Ronald Reagan.”