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A STATEMENT BY FORMER REPUBLICAN NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICIALS

The statement below was issued by over 70 former senior Republican national security officials on August 20, 2020, and 60 additional senior officials have now signed on, including many who served in the Trump Administration.  Since its release, Donald Trump has continued to demonstrate that he is unfit to serve as president, reportedly calling Americans who served in our armed forces “losers” and “suckers,” admitting that he deliberately downplayed the threat from the coronavirus, and, alarmingly, now refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

We are former national security officials who served during the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and/or Donald Trump, or as Republican Members of Congress. We are profoundly concerned about the course of our nation under the leadership of Donald Trump. Through his actions and his rhetoric, Trump has demonstrated that he lacks the character and competence to lead this nation and has engaged in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as President.

For the following reasons, we have concluded that Donald Trump has failed our country and that Vice President Joe Biden should be elected the next President of the United States.

  1. Donald Trump has gravely damaged America’s role as a world leader. Trump has disgraced America’s global reputation and undermined our nation’s moral and diplomatic influence. He has called NATO “obsolete,” branded Europe a “foe,” mocked the leaders of America’s closest friends, and threatened to terminate longstanding US alliances. Other global leaders, friends and foes alike, view him as unreliable, unstable, and unworthy of respect.
  2. Donald Trump has shown that he is unfit to lead during a national crisis. Instead of rallying the American people and the world to confront the coronavirus, Trump has spent the past half year spreading misinformation, undermining public health experts, attacking state and local officials, and wallowing in self-pity. He has demonstrated far greater concern about the fate of his reelection than the health of the American people.
  3. Donald Trump has solicited foreign influence and undermined confidence in our presidential elections. Trump publicly asked Russian president Vladimir Putin to assist his 2016 campaign, called on Chinese president Xi Jinping to “start an investigation” into his current political opponent, and pressured the president of Ukraine to act against his opponent. Citing exaggerated claims of voter fraud, he has challenged the integrity of this year’s election, even suggesting that it be postponed.
  4. Donald Trump has aligned himself with dictators and failed to stand up for American values. Trump has regularly praised the actions of dictators and human rights abusers. He proclaimed his “love” and “great respect” for North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un, endorsed “brilliant leader” Xi Jinping’s move to serve as China’s president for life, repeatedly sided with Vladimir Putin against our own intelligence community, and pronounced himself a “big fan” of Turkish president Recep Erdogan despite his crackdown on democracy.
  5. Donald Trump has disparaged our armed forces, intelligence agencies, and diplomats. Trump has attacked Gold Star families, scoffed at American prisoners of war, interfered in the military justice system, and embroiled our military in domestic politics. He has ridiculed US intelligence agencies and falsely branded our nation’s diplomats as the “deep state.”
  6. Donald Trump has undermined the rule of law. Trump has compromised the independence of the Department of Justice, repeatedly attacked federal judges, and punished government officials who have sought to uphold the law. To protect himself from accountability, he has fired officials who launched investigations or testified against him, threatened whistleblowers, dangled pardons as incentives to stay silent, and blocked prison time for a political crony convicted of lying on his behalf. He has impugned journalists investigating his misconduct and has repeatedly denounced the press as the “enemy of the people.”
  7. Donald Trump has dishonored the office of the presidency. Trump engages in childish name-calling, mocks the disabled, belittles women, persistently lies, peddles baseless conspiracy theories, and continually embarrasses Americans in the eyes of the world.
  8. Donald Trump has divided our nation and preached a dark and pessimistic view of America. Trump consistently seeks to incite political, racial, and ethnic divisions, weakening our nation and delighting our adversaries. In contrast to Reagan’s vision of America as a “shining city on a hill,” Trump speaks of “American carnage,” pits Americans against each other, and stokes fears that “angry mobs” and “anarchists” are destroying our country.
  9. Donald Trump has attacked and vilified immigrants to our country. Trump routinely denigrates immigrants and inflames prejudices as he seeks support for his reelection. Despite America’s legacy as a nation of immigrants, he has demonized Americans who come from other countries, even telling members of Congress whose families immigrated to the United States to “go back” to the “crime-infested places” from which they came.
  10. Donald Trump has imperiled America’s security by mismanaging his national security team. Trump has dismissed or replaced — often by tweet — the secretaries of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the Directors of National Intelligence and the FBI, three National Security Advisors, and other senior officials in critical national security positions, many because they refused to cover for his misdeeds or demonstrate sufficient personal loyalty.

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.

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.

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. 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.

To that end, we are firmly convinced that it is in the best interest of our nation that Vice President Joe Biden be elected as the next President of the United States, and we will vote for him.


  • Adm. Steve AbbotFmr Dep Homeland Security Advisor
  • Kenneth AdelmanFmr Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • Amb. Peter AllgeierFmr Deputy US Trade Representative
  • Mary Catherine AndrewsFmr Special Asst to the President
  • Richard ArmitageFmr Deputy Secretary of State
  • Christopher BartonFmr Director, NSC Staff
  • Nancy BeargFmr Senior Director, NSC Staff
  • John BellingerFmr Legal Adviser, Dept of State
  • Adm. Kenneth BernardFmr Special Asst to the President
  • Mark BittermanFmr Special Asst to the Secretary of Defense
  • Amb. Robert BlackwillFmr Deputy National Security Advisor
  • Christian BonatFmr Dep General Counsel, Defense Dept
  • Amb. Richard BoucherFmr Asst Secretary of State
  • Amb. Charles BowersFmr US Ambassador
  • Bertram BraunFmr Director, NSC Staff
  • Amb. Peter BridgesFmr US Ambassador
  • Douglas BrookFmr Asst Secretary of the Army
  • Linton BrooksFmr Under Secretary of Energy
  • Greg BrowerFmr Asst Director of the FBI
  • Kara BueFmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • Amb. Richard BurtFmr US Ambassador to Germany
  • Sally CanfieldFmr Dep Chief of Staff, Dept of Homeland Security
  • Victor ChaFmr Director, NSC Staff
  • Amb. Jack ChowFmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • Thomas ChristensenFmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • Eliot CohenFmr Counselor of the Dept of State
  • Joseph CollinsFmr Dep Asst Secretary of Defense
  • Heather ConleyFmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • Bret CoulsonFmr Director, NSC Staff
  • Chester CrockerFmr Asst Secretary of State
  • Patrick CroninFmr Asst Administrator, USAID
  • Amb. Sada CumberFmr US Special Envoy to the OIC​
  • Mike DonleyFmr Secretary of the Air Force
  • Raymond DuBoisFmr Acting Under Secretary of the Army
  • Lewis DunnFmr Asst Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
  • Amb. Eric EdelmanFmr Under Secretary of Defense
  • Gary EdsonFmr Deputy National Security Advisor
  • Richard FalkenrathFmr Dep Asst to the President
  • Amb. Julie FinleyFmr US Ambassador
  • Carl FordFmr Asst Secretary of State
  • Aaron FriedbergFmr Dep Asst to the Vice President
  • William GachesFmr Director of Counterterrorism, NSA
  • Janice GardnerFmr Asst Secretary of the Treasury
  • John GardnerFmr Special Asst to the President
  • Amb. James GlassmanFmr Under Secretary of State
  • Amb. Jon GlassmanFmr Dep National Security Advisor to the Vice President
  • David GordonFmr Director, State Dept, Policy Planning
  • Colleen GraffyFmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • Michael GreenFmr Senior Director, NSC Staff
  • Sen. Chuck HagelFmr Secretary of Defense and US Senator
  • Christopher HankinFmr Dep Asst Secretry of State
  • Mark HarveyFmr Special Asst to the President
  • Gen. Michael HaydenFmr Director of the CIA and the NSA
  • Amb. Carla HillsFmr US Trade Representative
  • Seth HurwitzFmr Counsel, President’s Intelligence Oversight Board
  • Ash JainFmr Member, State Dept Policy Planning
  • Les JankaFmr Dep Asst Secretary of Defense
  • Neil JoeckFmr Director, NSC Staff
  • Amb. Richard KauzlarichFmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • James KellyFmr Asst Secretary of State
  • Donald KerrFmr Princ Dep Director of National Intelligence
  • Rep. Jim KolbeFmr Member of Congress
  • David KramerFmr Asst Secretary of State
  • Stephen KrasnerFmr Director, State Dept Policy Planning
  • Ken KriegFmr Under Secretary of Defense
  • James KunderFmr Deputy Administrator, USAID
  • Amb. Frank LavinFmr Under Secretary of Commerce
  • Rep. Jim LeachFmr Member of Congress
  • Bruce LemkinFmr Dep Under Secretary of the Air Force
  • Michael LeiterFmr Director, National Counterterrorism Ctr
  • Peter LichtenbaumFmr Asst Secretary of Commerce
  • Amb. Winston LordFmr US Ambassador
  • James LoyFmr Dep Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Peter MadiganFmr Dep Asst Secretary State
  • Amb. Steven MannFmr Prin Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • Col. John McDonaldFmr Dep Under Secretary of the Army
  • Bryan McGrathFormer US Navy Officer
  • Amb. Michael McKinleyFmr US Ambassador
  • Christopher MellonFmr Dep Asst Secretary of Defense
  • David MerkelFmr Dep Asst Secretary of State
  • John MitnickFmr General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security
  • Allen MooreFmr Under Secretary of Commerce
  • Alberto MoraFmr Gen Counsel, Dept of the Navy
  • Holly MorrowFmr Director, NSC Staff
  • Kenneth MortensenFmr Assoc Dep Attorney General
  • Virginia MulbergerFmr Special Asst to the President
  • Alden MunsonFmr Dep Director of National Intelligence
  • Amb. John NegroponteFmr Director of National Intelligence, and Fmr Deputy Secretary of State
  • Elizabeth NeumannFmr Asst Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Sean O’KeefeFmr Secretary of the Navy and NASA Administrator
  • Douglas PaalFmr Senior Director, NSC Staff
  • Larry PfeifferFmr Chief of Staff, CIA
  • William PiekneyFmr Chief of Station, CIA
  • Daniel PriceFmr Dep National Security Advisor
  • Sen. Larry PresslerFmr US Senator
  • Clyde PrestowitzFmr Counselor to the Secretary of Commerce
  • Victor ReisFmr Director, Defense Adv Research Projects Agency
  • Paul RosenzweigFmr Dep Asst Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Nicholas RostowFmr NSC Legal Adviser
  • Kori SchakeFmr Prin Dep Director, State Dept Policy Planning
  • Wayne SchroederFmr Dep Under Secretary of Defense
  • Amb. Gregory SchulteFmr Senior Director, NSC Staff
  • Robert ShanksFmr Dep Asst Attorney General
  • Amb. Thomas ShannonFmr Under Secretary of State
  • Rep. Christopher ShaysFmr Member of Congress
  • John SimonFmr Senior Director, NSC Staff
  • Stephen SlickFmr Senior Director, NSC Staff
  • Amb. Mark StorellaFmr US Ambassador
  • Timothy StratfordFmr Asst US Trade Representative
  • Amb. William TaftFmr Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Shirin Tahir-KheliFmr Special Asst to the President
  • Miles TaylorFmr Chief of Staff, Dept of Homeland Security
  • William TobeyFmr Dep Administrator, Nat Nuclear Security Admin
  • Jack TomarchioFmr Princ Dep Under Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Olivia TroyeFmr Special Advisor to the Vice President
  • Amb. Robert TuttleFmr US Ambassador to the United Kingdom
  • John VeroneauFmr Dep US Trade Representative
  • Michael VickersFmr Under Secretary of Defense
  • Ken WainsteinFmr Homeland Security Advisor
  • David WallerFmr Asst Secretary of Energy
  • Thomas WardFmr Director of Threats, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization
  • Sen. John WarnerFmr US Senator
  • Matthew WaxmanFmr Prin Dep Director, State Dept Policy Planning
  • William WebsterFmr Director of the CIA and FBI
  • Wendell Willkie IIFmr General Counsel, Dept of Commerce
  • John WoodworthFmr Dep Asst Secretary of Defense
  • John WolfFmr Asst Secretary of State
  • Dov ZakheimFmr Under Secretary of Defense
  • Philip ZelikowFmr Counselor of the Dept of State

If you are a national security official who worked for a Republican administration and are supporting Vice President Biden in November, we urge you to join us. Please get in touch at natsec@defendingdemocracytogether.org

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