(Official White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

Former Republican National Security Officials Say Trump Is ‘Dangerously Unfit’ to Serve Second Term

Former national security officials who served in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump administrations have publicly supported Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and argued that President Trump is “dangerously unfit” to serve a second term.

The seventy-three officials who all served under Republican administrations and/or as Republican lawmakers said they are “profoundly concerned about the course of our nation under the leadership of Donald Trump”, adding “through his actions and his rhetoric, Trump has demonstrated that he lacks the character and competence to lead this nation and has engaged in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as President.”

The officials set out the following reasons why Joe Biden should be elected the next President of the United States, despite recognizing some policy differences:

  1. ​Donald Trump has gravely damaged America’s role as a world leader. Trump has disgraced America’s global reputation and undermined our nation’s moral and diplomatic influence. He has called NATO “obsolete,” branded Europe a “foe,” mocked the leaders of America’s closest friends, and threatened to terminate longstanding US alliances. Other global leaders, friends and foes alike, view him as unreliable, unstable, and unworthy of respect.
  2. ​Donald Trump has shown that he is unfit to lead during a national crisis. Instead of rallying the American people and the world to confront the coronavirus, Trump has spent the past half year spreading misinformation, undermining public health experts, attacking state and local officials, and wallowing in self-pity. He has demonstrated far greater concern about the fate of his reelection than the health of the American people.
  3. Donald Trump has solicited foreign influence and undermined confidence in our presidential elections. Trump publicly asked Russian president Vladimir Putin to assist his 2016 campaign, called on Chinese president Xi Jinping to “start an investigation” into his current political opponent, and pressured the president of Ukraine to act against his opponent. Citing exaggerated claims of voter fraud, he has challenged the integrity of this year’s election, even suggesting that it be postponed.
  4. Donald Trump has aligned himself with dictators and failed to stand up for American values. Trump has regularly praised the actions of dictators and human rights abusers. He proclaimed his “love” and “great respect” for North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un, endorsed “brilliant leader” Xi Jinping’s move to serve as China’s president for life, repeatedly sided with Vladimir Putin against our own intelligence community, and pronounced himself a “big fan” of Turkish president Recep Erdogan despite his crackdown on democracy.
  5. Donald Trump has disparaged our armed forces, intelligence agencies, and diplomats. Trump has attacked Gold Star families, scoffed at American prisoners of war, interfered in the military justice system, and embroiled our military in domestic politics. He has ridiculed US intelligence agencies and falsely branded our nation’s diplomats as the “deep state.”
  6. Donald Trump has undermined the rule of law. Trump has compromised the independence of the Department of Justice, repeatedly attacked federal judges, and punished government officials who have sought to uphold the law. To protect himself from accountability, he has fired officials who launched investigations or testified against him, threatened whistleblowers, dangled pardons as incentives to stay silent, and blocked prison time for a political crony convicted of lying on his behalf. He has impugned journalists investigating his misconduct and has repeatedly denounced the press as the “enemy of the people.”
  7. Donald Trump has dishonored the office of the presidency. Trump engages in childish name-calling, mocks the disabled, belittles women, persistently lies, peddles baseless conspiracy theories, and continually embarrasses Americans in the eyes of the world.
  8. Donald Trump has divided our nation and preached a dark and pessimistic view of America. Trump consistently seeks to incite political, racial, and ethnic divisions, weakening our nation and delighting our adversaries. In contrast to Reagan’s vision of America as a “shining city on a hill,” Trump speaks of “American carnage,” pits Americans against each other, and stokes fears that “angry mobs” and “anarchists” are destroying our country.
  9. Donald Trump has attacked and vilified immigrants to our country. Trump routinely denigrates immigrants and inflames prejudices as he seeks support for his reelection. Despite America’s legacy as a nation of immigrants, he has demonized Americans who come from other countries, even telling members of Congress whose families immigrated to the United States to “go back” to the “crime-infested places” from which they came.
  10. Donald Trump has imperiled America’s security by mismanaging his national security team. Trump has dismissed or replaced — often by tweet — the secretaries of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the Directors of National Intelligence and the FBI, three National Security Advisors, and other senior officials in critical national security positions, many because they refused to cover for his misdeeds or demonstrate sufficient personal loyalty.

Pledging their support for Biden, the officials concluded that while they may hold policy positions that differ from those of Biden and his party, the time to debate those policy differences will come later. “For now, it is imperative that we stop Trump’s assault on our nation’s values and institutions and reinstate the moral foundations of our democracy.”

The officials also urged other national security officials who had worked for a Republican administration to join them.

Currently, the officials are:

  • Adm. Steve Abbot – Fmr Dep Homeland Security Advisor
  • Mary Catherine Andrews – Fmr Special Asst to the President
  • Richard Armitage – Fmr Deputy Secretary of State
  • Christopher Barton – Fmr Director, NSC Staff
  • John Bellinger – Fmr Legal Adviser, Dept of State
  • Adm. Kenneth Bernard – Fmr Special Asst to the President
  • Amb. Robert Blackwill – Fmr Deputy National Security Advisor
  • Linton Brooks – Fmr Under Secretary of Energy
  • Kara Bue – Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • Amb. Richard Burt – Fmr US Ambassador to Germany
  • Victor Cha – Fmr Director, NSC Staff
  • Thomas Christensen – Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • Eliot Cohen – Fmr Counselor of the Dept of State
  • Joseph Collins – Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of Defense
  • Heather Conley – Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • Chester Crocker – Fmr Asst Secretary of State
  • Patrick Cronin – Fmr Asst Administrator, USAID
  • Amb. Sada Cumber – Fmr US Special Envoy to the OIC​
  • Mike Donley – Fmr Secretary of the Air Force
  • Raymond DuBois – Fmr Acting Under Secretary of the Army
  • Amb. Eric Edelman – Fmr Under Secretary of Defense
  • Gary Edson – Fmr Deputy National Security Advisor
  • Richard Falkenrath – Fmr Dep Asst to the President
  • Aaron Friedberg – Fmr Dep Asst to the Vice President
  • Janice Gardner – Fmr Asst Secretary of the Treasury
  • Amb. James Glassman – Fmr Under Secretary of State
  • David Gordon – Fmr Director, State Dept, Policy Planning
  • Colleen Graffy – Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • Michael Green – Fmr Senior Director, NSC Staff
  • Sen. Chuck Hagel – Fmr Secretary of Defense and US Senator
  • Gen. Michael Hayden – Fmr Director of the CIA and the NSA
  • Amb. Carla Hills – Fmr US Trade Representative
  • Ash Jain – Fmr Member, State Dept Policy Planning
  • James Kelly – Fmr Asst Secretary of State
  • Rep. Jim Kolbe – Fmr Member of Congress
  • David Kramer – Fmr Asst Secretary of State
  • Stephen Krasner – Fmr Director, State Dept Policy Planning
  • Ken Krieg – Fmr Under Secretary of Defense
  • Amb. Frank Lavin – Fmr Under Secretary of Commerce
  • Rep. Jim Leach – Fmr Member of Congress
  • Bruce Lemkin – Fmr Dep Under Secretary of the Air Force
  • Michael Leiter – Fmr Director, National Counterterrorism Ctr
  • Peter Lichtenbaum – Fmr Asst Secretary of Commerce
  • James Loy – Fmr Dep Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Peter Madigan – Fmr Dep Asst Secretary State
  • Bryan McGrath – Former US Navy Officer
  • David Merkel – Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • John Mitnick – Fmr General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security
  • Holly Morrow – Fmr Director, NSC Staff
  • Amb. John Negroponte – Fmr Director of National Intelligence, and Fmr Deputy Secretary of State
  • Elizabeth Neumann – Fmr Asst Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Sean O’Keefe – Fmr Secretary of the Navy and NASA Administrator
  • Daniel Price – Fmr Dep National Security Advisor
  • Paul Rosenzweig – Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Nicholas Rostow – Fmr NSC Legal Adviser
  • Kori Schake – Fmr Prin Dep Director, State Dept Policy Planning
  • Wayne Schroeder – Fmr Dep Under Secretary of Defense
  • Robert Shanks – Fmr Dep Asst Attorney General
  • Rep. Christopher Shays – Fmr Member of Congress
  • John Simon – Fmr Senior Director, NSC Staff
  • Stephen Slick – Fmr Senior Director, NSC Staff
  • Amb. William Taft – Fmr Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Shirin Tahir-Kheli – Fmr Special Asst to the President
  • Miles Taylor – Fmr Chief of Staff, Dept of Homeland Security
  • William Tobey – Fmr Dep Administrator, Nat Nuclear Security Admin
  • Amb. Robert Tuttle – Fmr US Ambassador to the United Kingdom
  • John Veroneau – Fmr Dep US Trade Representative
  • Michael Vickers – Fmr Under Secretary of Defense
  • Ken Wainstein – Fmr Homeland Security Advisor
  • Sen. John Warner – Fmr US Senator
  • Matthew Waxman – Fmr Prin Dep Director, State Dept Policy Planning
  • William Webster – Fmr Director of the CIA and FBI
  • Dov Zakheim – Fmr Under Secretary of Defense
  • Philip Zelikow – Fmr Counselor of the Dept of State

Read the joint statement here

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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