Donald Rumsfeld, Former Secretary of Defense Under George W. Bush, Dies at 88

by Samantha Whidden

Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, has passed away at the age of 88 at his home in Taos, New Mexico. Rumsfeld’s family confirmed the news on Twitter.

“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald Rumsfeld, an American statesman and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather,” the Rumsfeld family states. “At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico.”

The Rumsfeld family continues, “History may remember him for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service. But for those who knew him best and whose lives were forever changed as a result, we will remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family, and friends. And the integrity he brought to a life dedicated to country.”

Rumsfeld supporters shared their condolences by commenting, “Prayers for this great leader and family. Thank you for your service Sir.” and “Rumsfeld was an American original. Rest In Peace.” Another supporter also shares, Donald Rumsfeld loved our country, and was unwavering in his service and support of her. ‘Rumfeld’s Rules’ should be required reading for anyone starting out in this town. RIP.”

Donald Rumsfeld’s Public Service Career & Retirement

Prior to serving President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006, Donald Rumsfeld served as Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford. He is notably both the youngest and the second oldest person to serve as Secretary of Defense for the U.S. 

Donald Rumsfeld was a three-term U.S. Congressman from Illinois as well as director of Office of Economic Opportunity, Counsellor to the President, The U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, and the White House Chief of Staff. He also held leadership roles in various businesses, including pharmaceutical corporation G.D. Searle & Company, General Instrument, and Gilead Sciences. 

Donald Rumsfeld reportedly played a central role in both the invasion of Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq following the September 11th attacks. Following his resignation as Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld went on to write his book, Known and Unknown: A Memoir, in 2011.

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me. Because as we know, there are known knowns,” Donald Rumfeld stated in a 2002 speech. “There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tends to be the difficult ones.”

Rumsfeld received the “Defender of the Constitution Award” at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).