Monday, August 08, 2016

GOP National Security Officials: Trump Would Be "Most Reckless" President in History

Last week it was former CIA head Michael Morell endorsing Hillary Clinton for president and citing Donald Trump's ignorance, temperament and near co-opting by Vladimir Putin for his decision. Morell had always been an independent during his three decade plus career at the CIA.  Now, fifty (50) former GOP national security officials have released a scathing anti-Trump letter which states that Trump is not only dangerous and unfit for office, but that he'd be the most reckless president in America's history.   The full letter which is worth the time to read in full can be found here.  I truly do not recall in my lifetime such a revolt against a major political party nominee by prominent members of his own party.  The New York Times has details:
Fifty of the nation’s most senior Republican national security officials, many of them former top aides or cabinet members for President George W. Bush, have signed a letter declaring that Donald J. Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”
Mr. Trump, the officials warn, “would be the most reckless president in American history.”
The letter says Mr. Trump would weaken the United States’ moral authority and questions his knowledge of and belief in the Constitution. It says he has “demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding” of the nation’s “vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances and the democratic values” on which American policy should be based. And it laments that “Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself.”
“None of us will vote for Donald Trump,” the letter states . . . Monday’s letter included many senior former officials who until now have remained silent in public, even while denouncing Mr. Trump’s policies over dinners or in small Republican conclaves.
Late Monday, Mr. Trump struck back. The signatories of the letter, he said in a statement, were “the ones the American people should look to for answers on why the world is a mess, and we thank them for coming forward so everyone in the country knows who deserves the blame for making the world such a dangerous place.” He dismissed them as “nothing more than the failed Washington elite looking to hold onto their power.”
Mr. Trump correctly identified many of the signatories as the architects of the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. But he also blamed them for allowing Americans “to die in Benghazi” and for permitting “the rise of ISIS”
Among the most prominent signatories are Michael V. Hayden, a former director of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency; John D. Negroponte, who served as the first director of national intelligence and then deputy secretary of state; and Robert B. Zoellick, another former deputy secretary of state, United States trade representive and, until 2012, president of the World Bank. Two former secretaries of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, also signed, as did Eric S. Edelman, who w as Vice President Dick Cheney’s national security adviser and as a top aide to Robert M. Gates when he was secretary of defense.
Robert Blackwill and James Jeffrey, two key strategists in Mr. Bush’s National Security Council, and William H. Taft IV, a former deputy secretary of defense and ambassador to NATO, also signed.
[A] number said in recent interviews that they changed their minds once they heard Mr. Trump invite Russia to hack Mrs. Clinton’s email server — a sarcastic remark, he said later — and say that he would check to see how much NATO members contributed to the alliance before sending forces to help stave off a Russian attack. They viewed Mr. Trump’s comments on NATO as an abandonment of America’s most significant alliance relationship.
Mr. Trump has said throughout his campaign that he intends to upend Republican foreign policy orthodoxy on everything from trade to Russia, where he has been complimentary of President Vladimir V. Putin, saying nothing about its crackdown on human rights and little about its annexation of Crimea.
"We agreed to focus on Trump’s fitness to be president, not his substantive positions,” said John B. Bellinger III, who w as Ms. Rice’s legal adviser at the National Security Council and the State Department, and who drafted the letter.
He said that among the signatories, “some will vote for” Mrs. Clinton, “and some will not vote, but all agree Trump is not qualified and would be dangerous.”
[P]erhaps most striking about the letter is the degree to which it echoes Mrs. Clinton’s main argument about her rival: that his temperament makes him unsuitable for the job, and that he should not be entrusted with the control of nuclear weapons.
“He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood,” the letter says. “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.”
Frankly, I have to agree with these individuals' assessment 100%.  They may have been wrong on the Iraq War, they have it right when it comes to Trump.

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