Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday blasted President Donald Trump, calling him “an embarrassment” and said he “is doing great damage to our country internationally,” CNN reports.
Hagel’s comments came during an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star amid uproar over Trump’s reported remarks during a closed-door immigration meeting with lawmakers last week, during which he is said to have called certain African countries “shitholes.”
The former Nebraska Republican senator and decorated Vietnam veteran said that the United States and the world have entered “a defining year, a year of volatility and uncertainty and great danger.”
“Trump is intentionally dividing the country and the world by pulling out of alliances,” he said.
Hagel said in addition to withdrawing from the world, Trump’s attacks on the intelligence community are also damaging. The country has “a President who minimizes his own intelligence community, and that is quite astounding,” he said.
Addressing the matter of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, Hagel encouraged dialogue and said demanding preconditions before entering negotiations is likely not to lead to engagement.
“‘My button is bigger than yours’ is irresponsible kind of talk,” he said, referring to Trump’s recent tweets taunting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Hagel added that a nuclear confrontation would be “worse than anything we’ve ever seen.”
US foreign policy at this time is “a policy of disunity. A new world order is being built and shaped right now and the last time that happened, America led,” Hagel told the newspaper.