White House announces resignation of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld

Nov. 9, 2006, midnight | By Jessica Cutler | 17 years, 5 months ago

President Bush nominates former CIA chief as replacement

President Bush announced at a White House press conference Wednesday morning that Donald Rumsfeld will step down from his position as Secretary of Defense and named former CIA chief Robert Gates as Rumsfeld's successor.

The announcement came after weeks of harsh criticism for Rumsfeld's Iraq policies by both Democrats and Republicans. Eight retired generals called for Rumsfeld's resignation earlier this year, accusing him of "mishandling the war in Iraq and failing to do post-planning," according to a CNN news story. Bush, who said just last week that Rumsfeld would keep his position for the remainder of the presidential term, admitted that while he had been discussing Rumsfeld's departure for several weeks, he "didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days" of the midterm election campaigns.

Democrats have so far expressed support for the decision, viewing Rumsfeld's departure as the first of many changes necessary to the war in Iraq. "Yesterday's election was a cry for change, and for the first time it looks like the president is listening," said Senator Charles Schumer of New York.

Several hours after the announcement, Bush appeared again to reveal his nominee for the position. Robert Gates, who served as head of the CIA for two years during Bush Sr.'s presidency, accepted the nomination because "the United States is at war." He did not specify whether Gates will seek confirmation from the departing Republican-led Senate or the newly elected Senate which will start serving next year.

Despite the lack of an official announcement, however, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John W. Warner, said that "he would like to see Mr. Gates confirmed by the end of the year, if possible," according to the New York Times.

Jessica Cutler. Jessica Cutler is an energetic girl practicing for her intended career as a neuropsychiatrist on her unsuspecting classmates. She enjoys tennis, crosswords, Panera and exploring the Metro system. Also, she's developed a recent affinity for betta fish, and is the proud owner of Robert L. … More »

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