Donald Trump

What We Said in August 2016: Trump 'Would Put at Risk Our Country’s National Security'

By John Bellinger
Friday, December 21, 2018, 8:54 AM

Below is an excerpt from the letter of 50 former senior national security officials who had served in Republican administrations dated Aug. 8, 2016 in which we stated that if elected president, Donald Trump “would be the most reckless President in American history”:

Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief.   Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.

Most fundamentally, Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President.  He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.  He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.

In addition, Mr. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of America’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which U.S. foreign policy must be based.  At the same time, he persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and friends.  Unlike previous Presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself.   He continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics.  Despite his lack of knowledge, Mr. Trump claims that he understands foreign affairs and “knows more about ISIS than the generals do.”

Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President.  In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them.  A President must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation.  A President must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.

In our judgment, Mr. Trump has none of these critical qualities.   He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood.  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.

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