In the conversation, he weighed in on Trump’s response to the protest movement against racial injustice. He said it’s time to change the names of Confederate bases. “There comes a moment when things become possible and people ought to seize a moment when it presents itself, and this is such a moment.”

Gates reflected on former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ statement of criticism of Trump’s leadership, published on June 4, saying he agrees with Mattis: “It’s hard to disagree that this president is a divider.”

He continued: “I think that we are in a weaker position in the world today than we were three years ago.”

Looking to November, Gates said “I think that what the country needs is somebody who will try to bring us together.” He added that despite disagreements on foreign policy, presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden is “a man of great integrity” and a “decent human being.”