Fifty former national security officials whose careers span more than four decades released a letter today critical of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, stating that they would not vote for the real estate mogul.
The statement — signed by a collection of top officials including a former director of the CIA and National Security Agency, secretaries of homeland security and top aides and advisers from the White House, State Department and Department of Justice — is the latest in a series of public rebukes of Trump’s capacity to guide the nation’s defense and foreign policy by former government leaders.
“Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief,” reads the letter. “Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”
The letter goes on to assail Trump for what they say is his uncertain temperament, his lack of knowledge of U.S. laws and the Constitution and his complimentary attitude towards the country’s adversaries.
“Most fundamentally, Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President,” the letter says. “He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.”
Among those who signed the letter are Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, both of whom served as secretary of homeland security under George W. Bush; and retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who directed both the N.S.A. and C.I.A.
Last week, another director of the C.I.A., Michael Morell, publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton and shared similar concerns about a possible Trump presidency. Morell specifically criticized Trump’s behavior towards Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“[Putin] played this perfectly. He saw that Donald Trump wanted to be complimented [so] he complimented him,” said Morell during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “And Donald Trump didn’t even understand, right, that Putin was playing him.
“So, in Putin’s mind, I have no doubt he thinks that he’s an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”
The signatories of Monday’s letter join a growing list of current and former public officials who have publicly voiced their displeasure with Trump in recent weeks following controversial comments on a number of issues from NATO to email hacking.
However, unlike some who also took the step to endorse Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the national security officials who authored the letter did not pledge a vote to a specific candidate.
“We understand that many Americans are profoundly frustrated with the federal government and its inability to solve pressing domestic and international problems,” reads the letter. “We also know that many have doubts about Hillary Clinton, as do many of us. But Donald Trump is not the answer to America’s daunting challenges and to this crucial elect