(Reuters/RIA Novosti/Brendan McDermid/Photo montage by Salon)

50 Republican national security officials issue letter opposing Trump: He "would be the most reckless president in American history”

Dozens of former top aides and cabinet members for President George W. Bush warn Trump would put America at "risk"


Sophia Tesfaye
August 8, 2016 11:16PM (UTC)

“None of us will vote for Donald Trump,” a letter signed by 50 of the right's top national security officials read. Dozens of top aides and cabinet members for President George W. Bush issued the letter Monday to warn against the Republican presidential nominee as a "risk" to America's national security.

"From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief," read the letter drafted by a legal adviser at the National Security Council and the State Department under former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. Several of Rice's closest aides at the White House and the State Department are signatories to the anti-Trump letter, although the former secretary of state has issued no public statements on Trump's White House bid.

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In March, more than 100 GOP national security advisers signed a similar anti-Trump letter, calling the political neophyte "fundamentally dishonest." Trump "would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe," the Republican officials predicted back then. Monday's letter, however, is signed by several, even more prominent national security officials who cited Trump's recent remarks about Russia as as a last straw and catalyst for their action. More on the signatories from the New York Times:

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 representative 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 served 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.

[...]

Many of those signing it had declined to add their names to a similar open letter released in March. But a number said in recent interviews that they changed their minds once they heard Mr. Trump invite Russia to hack into 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.

Trump "persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and friends," the letter explained. 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. Furthermore, the letter goes on to lament, “Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself.”

“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.”

Read the full letter here.


Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia TesfayeFOLLOW @SophiaTesfaye

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