CHICAGO -- Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke at the University of Chicago Thursday.
Hagel was President Obama's Defense Secretary for two turbulent years
He was brought in by the U of C’s renowned Project on Security and Terrorism to talk to students about the state of the world. and America’s role in it.
But in the midst of this raucous presidential campaign, it’s impossible to stray far from politics.
“The American people have lost confidence in a good part of their political system” he said “What’s interesting to me about the study of the presidency, and I’ve known them all since Richard Nixon, is presidents do rise to the occasion. You can like them or dislike them or agree with them or disagree with them, but they do rise to the occasion of the office."
So Hagel is hopeful that the campaign will, in his words, “sober up” and that a reality-show mentality will give way to positive discourse which he says would be a nice change. He hasn’t seen it so far.
“We’ve seen in the last few months this kind of gong show process in our presidential politics, and that’s unfortunate,” he said. “But now we are getting closer and closer to have two presidential candidates. And that, I believe, will focus the media, focus the American people on not just two candidates, but the big issues.”
A lot of Americans are concerned about the access both parties’ nominees will soon get to classified intelligence briefings. Hagel says he doesn’t share that worry. He says its information a presidential nominee should have.
The devout Republican also says he will not be attending the GOP convention and has no plan to endorse Donald Trump.