Photo: Gage Skidmore
This week may be thought of as the week that Donald Trump managed to push the support of his party’s national security leadership into the arms of the Democratic candidate. Their support of Clinton may come either in the form of them voting for her or inadvertently supporting her by choosing to not vote at all.
Traditionally, Republican presidential candidates have been able to dominate national security. However, Trump may be the first, in recent history, to blow that standing for the party.
Remarkable are the top neoconservative Republicans taking Clinton’s side.
Hillary Clinton has said that Donald Trump should not be allowed to “have his finger on the button” of the nation’s nuclear weaponry.
It appears that many Republican top security officials agree with her.
Fifty of the nation’s leading Republican security officials have said they do not support the party’s presidential nominee. Together they signed a letter calling a Trump presidency dangerous and saying he would be “the most reckless President in American history.”
First described by The New York Times, the people who worked under Republican administrations starting with Richard Nixon and ending with George W. Bush, the experts include the past Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, then NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden and previous Homeland Security secretaries Michael Chertoff and Tom Ridge.
“None of us are voting for Trump,” the letter says while acknowledging that many citizens have concerns with Hillary Clinton.
The letter says that Trump has repeatedly shown that he has no understanding of the country’s national interests and “its complex diplomatic challenges.” The writers go on to say that Trump has “shown no interest in educating himself.”
According to the letter, Trump is either unwilling or unable to “separate truth from fiction.”
Late Monday evening Trump responded. Trump said that the names “in this letter are the ones the American people should look to for answers.”
Trump called the signatories a “failed elite” who need to be told their “gravy train is over.”
“Despite their failures, they believe they are entitled to use their favor-trading to land government contracts and speaking fees,” Trump said. “No longer will the disasters in Washington get rich at our expense.”
Some prominent Republican security officials did not sign off on the letter including Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker and Condoleezza Rice. While Trump has met with Baker and Kissinger recently, neither have endorsed him.
Ben Carson told CNN that Trump and a lot of “American people” see the letter’s signatories as being the very people who have run the nation “into the ditch.”
“If things aren’t moving in the right direction, study it and push in a different direction,” Carson said. “We must remember that our strength is in our unity.”
The recent letter is not the first warning shot. In March, over 100 GOP security advisers signed a similar letter. That letter, which called Trump “fundamentally dishonest” said Trump’s behavior would make America less secure.
Monday’s letter was signed by even more prominent national security administrators who pointed to Trump’s recent remarks about Russia as the last straw.