50 Republican national security experts warn against ‘reckless’ Trump
The reality TV star “lacks” the required character, values and self-control, said the group as it listed “dangerous qualities” in an individual “who aspires to become President and Commander-in-Chief, with command of the US nuclear arsenal” that could the country’s safety to risk.
“None of us will vote for Donald Trump,” said the group, that includes former homeland security chiefs, intelligence directors, senior presidential advisors and a former US trade representative, in a major blow to the 70-year-old real estate tycoon-turned politician from the party itself. “From a
foreign policy perspective, Trump is not qualified to be the 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, Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President. He weakens the US’ moral authority as the leader of the free world,” said the letter which has been signed by individuals who served in senior national security and foreign policy positions in Republican administrations, from Richard Nixon to George W Bush.
“We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless president in American history,” it said. The letter questions his knowledge of and belief in the US Constitution, and says he has “demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding” of the country’s “vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances and the democratic values’ on which the foreign policy should be based.
It further laments that “Mr Trump has shown no interest in educating himself”. In its statement issued the day before, the group said Trump appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the US laws and US institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press and an independent judiciary.
Trump hit back at the stinging rejection, calling the group “nothing more than the failed Washington elite looking to hold onto their power” and saying they should be “held accountable” for making the world less safe. He said they were the reason the world is “a mess.”
The major setback for Trump was followed by top Republican Senator Susan Collins saying she would not vote for him as he lacks the “temperament” and “judgement” required for the post. “I will not be voting for Donald Trump for President,” Collins, who represents the State of Maine in the US Senate, said in an op-ed in The Washington Post yesterday.
“This is not a decision I make lightly, for I am a lifelong Republican. But Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in the country,” she argued. Collins, the most senior senator to split publicly with the presidential nominee, said her conclusion about Trump’s unsuitability for office is based on his “disregard” for the precept of treating others with respect, an idea that should transcend politics.
The group of national security experts joins members of the security establishment who have already come out against Trump, including former CIA director Michael Morell, who last Friday accused Trump of being an “unwitting agent” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Many of the signatories have made their doubts known before and their statement said Trump is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood and does not encourage conflicting views. He also continues to display an “alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics,” it said.
The letter, however, also notes later that many Americans “have doubts about (Democratic presidential nominee) Hillary Clinton, as do many of us”. Calling the letter “politically motivated”, Trump said the signatories, along with 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 favour trading to land taxpayer-funded government contracts and speaking fees. It’s time we put our foot down and declare that their gravy train is over: no longer will crooked Hillary Clinton and the other disasters in Washington get rich at our expense,” he said and asserted he has offered a better vision for the country and foreign policy - one that is not run by a ruling family dynasty.
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