Former Republican national security officials sign letter opposing Trump

Former Republican national security officials sign letter opposing Trump

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Donald Trump makes his first appearance at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. July 18, 2016. Photo: Luke Vargas/Talk Media News
Donald Trump makes his first appearance at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. July 18, 2016. Photo: Luke Vargas/Talk Media News

The letter offers a harsh critique of Trump, saying that he “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – Dozens of former national security officials, all of whom served in Republican administrations from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, signed a letter calling Donald Trump “not qualified” to be president and warning that he “would be the most reckless president” in U.S. history.

The letter, first reported by The New York Times, offers a harsh critique of Trump, saying that he “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

“He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world,” the letter reads. “He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.”

The 50 signatories state flatly that none of them will vote for Trump in November, but that they say they understand the frustrations of many Americans.

“We also know that many have doubts about Hillary Clinton, as do many of us,” the letter reads. “But Donald Trump is not the answer to America’s daunting challenges and to this crucial election.”

Trump responded to the letter by thanking the signatories for naming themselves to the public, “so everyone in the country knows who deserves the blame for making the world such a dangerous place.”

“These insiders – along with Hillary Clinton – are the owners of the disastrous decisions to invade Iraq, allow Americans to die in Benghazi, and they are the ones who allowed the rise of ISIS. Yet despite these failures, they think they are entitled to use their favor trading to land taxpayer-funded government contracts and speaking fees,” Trump said.

The letter represents the latest attack on Trump by former national security officials and comes amid reports of high profile Republicans pledging their support to Trump’s adversary, Democratic nominee Clinton.

Over the course of his campaign, Trump has said he would not necessarily defend NATO allies who have not paid their commitment to the alliance; called the alliance itself “obsolete”; suggested that allies develop their own nuclear weapons for deterrence rather than rely on the U.S.’s weapons; and complimented Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.

Trump alsp said he would invite North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the U.S. for diplomatic conversations; and made remarks suggesting he was unaware that Russia has annexed Crimea despite objections by Ukraine.

“At the same time, he persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and friends,” the letter states. “Unlike previous Presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself. He continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics.”

“He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood,” the letter goes on to say. “He does not encourage conflicting views. He lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate personal criticism. He has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior. All of these are dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be president and commander in chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.”

The signatories include Michael Hayden, the former director of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency; Michael Chertoff and Tom Ridge, both of whom served as secretaries of Homeland Security during the George W. Bush administration; Dov Zakheim, a former under secretary of defense; John Negroponte, who served as the first director of national intelligence; Eric Edelman, a top national security adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney; and Robert Zoellick, a former deputy secretary of state, United States trade representative and president of the World Bank.

President Barack Obama said last week that he does not think Trump is fit to be president, and urged the Republican leadership to withdraw their endorsements for his candidacy.

“There have been Republican presidents with whom I disagreed with, but I didn’t have a doubt that they could function as president,” Obama said. “I think I was right and Mitt Romney and John McCain were wrong on certain policy issues, but I never thought that they couldn’t do the job.”

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