Washington, Aug 9 (IANS) A group of 50 former national security officials, all of whom have served Republican Presidents from Richard M. Nixon to George W. Bush, have called Donald Trump unqualified to be the president and warned that, if elected, “he would be the most reckless President in American history”.
All 50, in an open letter which offers a withering critique of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, said that he “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president, the Washington Post reported.
The signatories said he would be dangerous “and would put at risk the US’ national security and well-being”.
They stated flatly that none of them intended to vote for Trump in November. Some have decided to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, while others intended to sit out the election or write in another name, said John Bellinger III, a former legal adviser to Condoleezza Rice and the writer of the letter’s first draft.
“Trump is not the answer to America’s daunting challenges and to this crucial election. We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.”
Reacting to the letter, Trump, in a statement, said the writers shared the blame for “making the world such a dangerous place”.
“They are nothing more than the failed Washington elite looking to hold onto their power, and it’s time they are held accountable for their actions,” he said.
Trump said the former officials — along with Clinton — took part in the decisions that led to the invasion of Iraq, the deaths of Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and the rise of the Islamic State militant group.
“Yet despite these failures, they think they are entitled to use their favour trading to land taxpayer-funded government contracts and speaking fees,” he said.
Bellinger said some involved with the letter wanted to wait until September to release their views but the candidate’s behaviour in recent weeks — from his comments on NATO to inviting Russian intelligence to hack Clinton’s emails — galvanised them to move sooner.
“This is not about NATO, it’s not about trade, it’s not about Russia, it’s not about cyber. We really wanted to focus on the character, temperament and judgment that we have seen are required of good presidents,” the Washington Post quoted Bellinger as saying.
The letter also said Trump “appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the US Constitution, laws and institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press and an independent judiciary.”
It said Trump “lacks the temperament to be President”, and gave a scathing assessment of his ability to take advice, discipline himself, control his emotions and reflect before acting.
Bellinger said the letter was not intended to be political.
“What we really wanted to do was to raise the alarm and awareness among voters who may find Trump attractive, but do not understand what is required to be president of the US,” he said.