Donald Rumsfeld Actually Resigned Before Election Day 2006

It is now being reported that Donald Rumsfeld, the former Secretary of Defense and one of the chief architects of the Iraq War, turned in his letter of resignation the day before the mid-term elections. The four-paragraph letter has been acquired by the Associated Press following multiple requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

President Bush did not announce Rumsfeld’s resignation and his successor of Robert Gates until the day after the elections took place. Deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino has made it known that the President did not want to influence the voting in any way and have it look like “a political decision,” which is why he waited until November 8 to announce Rumsfeld’s departure. “I think that the American people can appreciate [that Bush was] not playing politics with such an important decision.”

But many Republicans wanted Bush to do just that — play politics. They are upset that the President did not fire Rumsfeld before Election Day, thinking that would have made a difference in the voting. “If Rumsfeld had been out, you bet it would have made a difference,” Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter declared last November. “I’d still be chairman of the Judiciary Committee,” the bitter Republican said.

I personally think that President Bush made the right decision to wait until after the voting. Had he not waited, he would have been accused by Democrats of trying to sway the election. Regardless of what Senator Specter and other Republicans might think, there is no way to know how the news might altered the outcome (I don’t it would have changed anything). Either way, Bush showed real integrity in my opinion by not allowing the dream of electoral victory to affect his judgment.

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