Donald Rumsfeld on Civil Rights

Secretary of Defense (Pres. Bush Cabinet)


In 1960s Congress, supported LBJ in ending segregation

That Friday, Nov. 22, 1963, I was in Mrs. Riles' geography class. She stopped and went to the door. I heard her wail. "The President's dead," she said, "and there's a Southerner in the White House. What's going to become of us now?"

School was dismissed. We got in the car and headed to my grandmother's house, [and when asked how I felt], I said I was very sad. "And scared," I added. Mrs. Riles had given me a reason.

I doubt if many children outside the South would have described their reaction to his death as fear.

Fortunately, though Lyndon Johnson was a southerner, he carried through on Kennedy's promise to end segregation. Some believe that Johnson was able to do what Kennedy could not have: assemble a coalition of northern Democrats and liberal Republicans to ram through landmark legislation. Donald Rumsfeld, then a young congressman from Chicago, was one of the Republicans who supported the President.

Source: My Extraordinary Family, by Condi Rice, p.101-102 , Jan 10, 2012

The time has come to let gays serve openly in military

Well, look who's come around on Don't Ask Don't Tell: war criminal Donald Rumsfeld, who's on a book tour to rewrite history and absolve himself of any wrongdoing with the Iraq war.

"First of all, we know that gays and lesbians have been serving in the military for decades with honorable service," Rumsfeld tells ABC. "We know that [repeal of a ban on gays serving openly] is an idea whose time has come." But he still has "enormous respect" for any commanders who think gays should stay in the closet.

Source: Ryan Tedder in Queerty Magazine, "Let Gays Serve" , Sep 17, 2011

1972: favor diversity but no racial quotas

In the Nixon white House, while I did not favor racial quotas, I believed it was important for the administration to make a serious effort at diversity. In the Nixon administration there were too few individuals from minority groups involved in policy-making positions at a time when issues with significant racial ramifications--school desegregation, riots, inner-city school problems, and drugs--were front and center. I suggested that the White House form a group to monitor minority hiring, marshal aid to black colleges, and focus on other efforts in support of minorities--including speaking to minority organizations.
Source: Known and Unknown, by Donald Rumsfeld, p.133 , Feb 8, 2011

Did not agree with Nixon’s or Agnew’s racism on 1971 tape

[During his confirmation hearing, Senator Carl] Levin asked Rumsfeld about a 1971 conversation between the former White House aide and President Nixon, in which Nixon used derogatory comments about African-Americans. Nixon used the language as he was criticizing racist comments by Vice President Spiro Agnew.

The 39-year-old Rumsfeld is heard agreeing with Nixon’s comments on the tape. Rumsfeld said Thursday that he has no memory of the July 1971 session with Nixon, and that large portions of the 29-year-old tape recording are inaudible.

“It appears that he was characterizing some remarks that were made by Vice President Agnew. And he was characterizing -- he was quoting them in a critical manner, saying that Agnew shouldn’t have said that,” Rumsfeld said. “I agreed only with the fact that some people talk like that and that Vice President Agnew should not have used or thought such derogatory and offensive and unfair and insensitive things about minorities.”

Source: Mike Ferullo, CNN.com, on Bush Cabinet , Jan 11, 2001

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