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50 GOP Security Officials Eviscerate Trump

It is unusual and historic for a group of fifty top Republican national security officials to rip their party’s nominee 90 days before the election. But this is not a usual election.

In a statement Monday dozens of GOP experts concluded, “Donald Trump doesn’t have the experience to serve as president and would jeopardize the country’s safety.” The letter was signed by aides and Cabinet members of past Republican administrations including George W. Bush’s and Richard Nixon’s.

The group made it clear that none of them will vote for Trump because they “are convinced that he would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

The Trump campaign has not responded to the letter.

STATEMENT BY FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICIALS

The undersigned individuals have all served in senior national security and/or foreign policy positions in Republican Administrations, from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush. We have worked directly on national security issues with these Republican Presidents and/or their principal advisers during wartime and other periods of crisis, through successes and failures. We know the personal qualities required of a President of the United States.

None of us will vote for Donald Trump.

From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief. Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.

Most fundamentally, Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President. He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. 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.

In addition, Mr. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of America’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which U.S. foreign policy must be based. At the same time, he persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and friends. 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. Despite his lack of knowledge, Mr. Trump claims that he understands foreign affairs and “knows more about ISIS than the generals do.”

Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President. In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them. A President must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation. A President must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.

In our judgment, Mr. Trump has none of these critical qualities. He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. 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.

We understand that many Americans are profoundly frustrated with the federal government and its inability to solve pressing domestic and international problems. We also know that many have doubts about Hillary Clinton, as do many of us. But Donald Trump is not the answer to America’s daunting challenges and to this crucial election. We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.

Signed,

Donald B. Ayer
Former Deputy Attorney General

John B. Bellinger III
Former Legal Adviser to the Department of State; former Legal Adviser to the National Security Council, The White House

Robert Blackwill
Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Planning, The White House

Michael Chertoff
Former Secretary of Homeland Security; former Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Department of Justice

Eliot A. Cohen
Former Counselor of the Department of State

Eric Edelman
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; former National Security Advisor to the Vice President, The White House

Gary Edson
Former Deputy National Security Advisor, The White House

Richard Falkenrath
Former Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, The White House

Peter Feaver
Former Senior Director for Strategic Planning, National Security Council, The White House

Richard Fontaine
Former Associate Director for Near East Affairs, National Security Council, The White House

Jendayi Frazer
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs; former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Aaron Friedberg
Former Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President, The White House

David Gordon
Former Director of Policy Planning, Department of State

Michael Green
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asia, National Security Council, The White House

Brian Gunderson
Former Chief of Staff, Department of State

Paul Haenle
Former Director for China and Taiwan, National Security Council, The White House

Michael Hayden
Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency; former Director, National Security Agency

Carla A. Hills
Former U.S. Trade Representative

John Hillen
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs

William Inboden
Former Senior Director for Strategic Planning, National Security Council, The White House

Reuben Jeffery III
Former Under Secretary of State for Economic Energy and Agricultural Affairs; former Special Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs, National Security Council, The White House

James Jeffrey
Former Deputy National Security Advisor, The White House

Ted Kassinger
Former Deputy Secretary of Commerce

David Kramer
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

James Langdon
Former Chairman, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, The White House

Peter Lichtenbaum
Former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration

Mary Beth Long
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs

Clay Lowery
Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs; former Director for International Finance, National Security Council, The White House

Robert McCallum
Former Associate Attorney General; former Ambassador to Australia

Richard Miles
Former Director for North America, National Security Council, The White House

Andrew Natsios
Former Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

John Negroponte
Former Director of National Intelligence; former Deputy Secretary of State; former Deputy National Security Advisor

Meghan O’Sullivan
Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan

Dan Price
Former Deputy National Security Advisor

Tom Ridge
Former Secretary of Homeland Security; former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, The White House; former Governor of Pennsylvania

Nicholas Rostow
Former Legal Adviser to the National Security Council, The White House

Kori Schake
Former Director for Defense Strategy, National Security Council, The White House

Kristen Silverberg
Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations

Stephen Slick
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs, National Security Council, The White House

Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations, National Security Council, The White House; former Ambassador and Senior Advisor for Women’s Empowerment, Department of State

William H. Taft IV
Former Deputy Secretary of Defense; former Ambassador to NATO

Larry D. Thompson
Former Deputy Attorney General

William Tobey
Former Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy; former Director for Counter-Proliferation Strategy, National Security Council, The White House

John Veroneau
Former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative

Kenneth Wainstein
Former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, The White House; former Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Department of Justice

Matthew Waxman
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense; former Director for Contingency Planning and International Justice, National Security Council, The White House

Dov Zakheim
Former Under Secretary of Defense

Roger Zakheim
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Philip Zelikow
Former Counselor of the Department of State

Robert Zoellick
Former U.S. Trade Representative; former Deputy Secretary of State

About Jim Heath

Jim Heath is the author of the new best seller Front Row Seat at the Circus - One Journalist's Journey through Two Presidential Elections. The book is about Jim's experiences covering the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns - from South Carolina, the first southern primary state, to Ohio, the ultimate battleground state in presidential elections. A recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism, Jim is also a two-time Emmy award winner with more than 15 years experience as both a main evening anchor and political reporter. A longtime advocate of social media, GQ Magazine listed Jim on their Top 5 political "Power List" and the Washington Post named him to their "Best Super Tuesday Twitter List." Jim's news career has taken him from Arizona to South Carolina to Ohio.

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