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Donald Rumsfeld really does have an iron-ass view of everything.

Karen Bleier/Getty Images

George H.W. Bush made headlines late last year by criticizing members of his son’s cabinet, including Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, in surprisingly candid terms—specifically, by calling them “iron asses.” Cheney took the broadside with considerable grace, to the point that George W. Bush later that month was able to joke, at the unveiling of Cheney’s bust on Capitol Hill, that his father had told him, “Send my best regards to old iron ass.” 

Rumsfeld is a different story. His initial impulse was to knock the elder Bush’s age and mental health, telling the New York Times: “Bush 41 is getting up in years and misjudges Bush 43, who I found made his own decisions.” Now Rumsfeld is going after his whole family, telling the Today Show that the reason Jeb Bush is struggling in the 2016 primary race is that “there are some people that are uncomfortable with a dynasty.” To really rub the salt in the wound, he also praised Jeb Bush’s tormentor, Donald Trump. “I see someone who has a touched a nerve in our country,” he said.

The message is that Rumsfeld is a vindictive codger who will come after your children when they’re down if you cross him. 

(If you’re wondering why Rumsfeld is on the Today Show to begin with, it’s because he came out with an app.)