A group of former US national security officials from across four Republican administrations have endorsed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race against Donald Trump, who has “demonstrated that he lacks the character and competence to lead this nation and has engaged in corrupt behaviour that renders him unfit to serve as president,” the group said in a statement.
The group had previously assembled in 2016 to warn of the dangers of a Trump presidency.
Returning four years later, hours before the former vice president is scheduled to accept his party’s nomination, the group – organised under conservative political campaign Defending Democracy Together – now includes 73 former former officials, including former senior-level Trump administration officials Miles Taylor and Elizabeth Neumann from the Department of Homeland Security.
The group also includes William Webster, the only person to have directed both the CIA and FBI, as well as former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden and dozens other officials from the executive branch and Congress.
In a 10-point statement, the group condemned the president’s “grave” damage to the nation’s world standing, as well as his response to the coronavirus pandemic, Russian involvement in his 2016 campaign, attacks against the US military and immigrants, attempts to undermine national security, and a “dark and pessimistic view of America” that “consistently seeks to incite political, racial and ethnic divisions, weakening our nation and delighting our adversaries”.
“While we – like all Americans – had hoped that Donald Trump would govern wisely, he has disappointed millions of voters who put their faith in him and has demonstrated that he is dangerously unfit to serve another term,” the group said in a statement. “In contrast, we believe Joe Biden has the character, experience, and temperament to lead this nation. We believe he will restore the dignity of the presidency, bring Americans together, reassert America’s role as a global leader, and inspire our nation to live up to its ideals.”
The group has spent $20 million on an ad campaign, including publishing the letter in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, aimed at swing voters.
Signatories allege the president has “imperilled” US national security and focussed on his own self-interests against the needs of Americans in the middle of a public health crisis.
They accuse the president of soliciting foreign influence, undermining US voting rights, and using rhetoric that “pits Americans against each other” and “stokes fears that ‘angry mobs’ and ‘anarchists’ are destroying our country”.
The statement was released on the final day of the Democrats’ nominating convention, which has notably featured several Republican officials and voters voicing their support for the former vice president, including former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Ohio governor John Kasich, and Cindy McCain, the widow of longtime senator and 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
“While some of us hold policy positions that differ from those of Joe Biden and his party, the time to debate those policy differences will come later,” the group said. “For now, it is imperative that we stop Trump’s assault on our nation’s values and institutions and reinstate the moral foundations of our democracy.”
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