- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Donald Trump on Tuesday touted support from 88 retired armed service members, as both he and Hillary Clinton make a concerted push to reach out to military voters ahead of a Wednesday forum in New York hosted by a veterans group.

A total of 88 retired U.S. generals and admirals threw their support behind Mr. Trump in an open letter organized by Major Gen. Sidney Shachnow and Rear Adm. Charles Williams.

The officials write in the letter that the 2016 election offers the American people an “urgently needed opportunity” to make a “long-overdue course correction in our national security posture and policy.”

“As retired senior leaders of America’s military, we believe that such a change can only be made by someone who has not been deeply involved with, and substantially responsible for, the hollowing out of our military and the burgeoning threats facing our country around the world,” the leaders wrote.

Mr. Trump said it was a “great honor” to have such support.

“Under my administration, we will end the weak foreign policy of the last eight years, rebuild our military, give our troops clear rules of engagement and take care of our veterans when they come home,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign on Tuesday highlighted a 30-second ad designed to discredit Mr. Trump’s national security bona fides.

It plays clips of Mr. Trump saying he knows more about the Islamic State terrorist group than the generals, and saying Sen. John McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, is a war hero because he was captured.

The ad is set to run on cable and in the battleground states of Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton are scheduled to participate in a forum in New York hosted by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a post-9/11 veterans advocacy group.

Mr. Trump is scheduled to campaign Tuesday in Virginia Beach, which is in a military-heavy region of the battleground state of Virginia.

Sen. Tim Kaine, Mrs. Clinton’s vice presidential nominee, is also scheduled to deliver what the campaign is billing as a “major national security address” on Tuesday in Wilmington, North Carolina.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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