Most striking about the letter is 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.”
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, though it notes later that many Americans “have doubts about Hillary Clinton, as do many of us.”
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 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.
The letter underscores the continuing rupture in the Republican Party, but particularly within its national security establishment. 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.
Yet the signatories are unlikely to impress Mr. Trump or the largely lesser-known foreign policy team he has assembled around him: He has said throughout his campaign that he intends to upend Republican foreign policy orthodoxy on everything from trade to Russia. And many of the aides who signed the letter were active in developing the plan to invade Iraq or managing its aftermath, which Mr. Trump has described as a “disaster.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump brushed off an open letter signed by dozens of the GOP’s most experienced national security officials, in which they say he “would be the most reckless President in American history.”
In a Tuesday morning interview on Fox Business, the Manhattan real estate mogul cast the officials as part of the Washington establishment he is trying to uproot, and accused them of signing the letter in order to get publicity.
“Well, I respond by saying that I wasn’t using any of them and they would have loved to have been involved with the campaign,” Trump said. “But I wasn’t using. I had no interest in using. Look where the country is now on national policy. Look what we are in defense. Look where we are. Look at the mess we are in. Whether it’s the Middle East or anyone else.”
“And these were the people that have been there a long time,” he continued. “Washington establishment people that have been there for a long time. Look at the terrible job they’ve done. I hadn’t planned on using any of these people.”
“They don’t feel relevant because of that and they form a group and they go out and try to get some publicity for themselves and they hope that somebody else other than Trump wins because that way they can get a job,” he added.