- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2020

Nearly 500 national security experts announced Thursday they are endorsing Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden, saying in a letter that President Trump “cannot rise to meet challenges large or small.”

The letter, titled “An Open Letter To America,” was signed by 489 national security experts including 22 four-star officers and both civilian and retired uniformed military officers.

“Thanks to his disdainful attitude and his failures, our allies no longer trust or respect us, and our enemies no longer fear us,” they wrote, pointing to Mr. Trump without mentioning him by name.

“Climate change continues unabated, as does North Korea’s nuclear program,” they continued. “The president has ceded influence to a Russian adversary who puts bounties on the heads of American military personnel, and his trade war against China has only harmed America’s farmers and manufacturers.”

Several of the officers who endorsed the former vice president served under the Trump administration, including Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, who served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Mr. Trump, Vice Adm. Gardner Howe, who retired last year, and Adm. Paul Zukunft, who served as commandant of the Coast Guard until 2018.

The former uniformed military brass joined almost 300 national security officials including former CIA and FBI Director William Webster, and former Defense Secretaries William Perry, William Cohen, Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta and Ash Carter.

“We are Republicans, Democrats, and independents. We love our country. Unfortunately, we also fear for it,” they wrote.

They also highlighted that many of the endorsement’s signatories had served during the Obama administration and have briefed Mr. Biden on national security issues. “We know he demands a thorough understanding of any issue before making a decision — as any American president should.”

The endorsement comes a week after Mr. Trump received the backing of 235 military leaders who said the Republican president “has been tested as few other presidents have and is the proven leader to confront these dangers.”

In Thursday’s endorsement for Mr. Biden, the national security experts pointed to the current administration’s disputes with NATO allies, and hit at Mr. Trump’s lack of support for the Kurds in the fight against the Islamic State, as well as Japan and South Korea.

“[Mr. Biden] believes we must stand by the allies who have stood by us,” they wrote. “Joe Biden would never sell out our allies to placate despots or because he dislikes an allied leader.”

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