Washington-Senior Republican national security officials have criticized their party’s White House nominee Donald Trump, saying he lacks experience and has no knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and values.
The 50 officials issued a stinging rejection of Trump in a letter they have signed.
If elected, Trump would be “the most reckless president in American history,” they warned.
The letter, which was published in the New York Times, said: “We are convinced that he (Trump) would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”
The group, some of whom had already announced they would not vote for Trump, included former homeland security chiefs, intelligence directors, senior presidential advisors and a former U.S. trade representative. They served under Republican presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush.
“He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood,” the group wrote, saying Trump possesses a set of “dangerous qualities” that should disqualify him from the presidency.
“We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless president in American history.”
The signatories included Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, the first and second homeland security secretaries under president George W. Bush, former director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and Bush-era CIA director Michael Hayden.
Trump issued a sharply worded reprimand of the group, painting them as “nothing more than the failed Washington elite looking to hold onto their power” and saying they should be “held accountable” for making the world less safe.
“These insiders – along with Hillary Clinton – are the owners of the disastrous decisions to invade Iraq, allow Americans to die in Benghazi, and they are the ones who allowed the rise of ISIS,” Trump said
“I offer a better vision for our country and our foreign policy — one that is not run by a ruling family dynasty.”
But influential Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins piled on, saying Trump was “unworthy” of America’s highest elective office and would not receive her support.
“I have become increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize,” Collins wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.
She portrayed Trump as a candidate “who will slash and burn and trample anything and anyone he perceives as being in his way or an easy scapegoat.”