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Political notebook: Former GOP national security officials call Trump unqualified

Published Aug. 9, 2016

Notebook

Ex-GOP security leaders: Trump puts U.S. 'at risk'

A group of 50 former national security officials, all of whom have served Republican presidents from Richard M. Nixon to George W. Bush, have signed an open letter calling Donald Trump unqualified to be president and warning that, if elected, "he would be the most reckless President in American history." The letter offers a withering critique of the GOP nominee, saying he "lacks the character, values and experience" to be president. The signatories declare their conviction that he would be dangerous "and would put at risk our country's national security and well-being." They state flatly that none of them intend to vote for Trump in November. Some have decided to vote for Hillary Clinton, while others intend to sit out the election or write in another name, said John Bellinger III, a former legal adviser to Condoleezza Rice and the writer of the letter's first draft. In a statement, Trump said the letter writers share the blame for "making the world such a dangerous place." Although no former secretaries of state signed the letter, it carries the signatures of Michael Chertoff and Tom Ridge, former secretaries of homeland security; Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency; John Negroponte, a former director of national intelligence and deputy secretary of state; Robert Zoellick, who also was a deputy secretary of state and president of the World Bank and the U.S. trade representative under George W. Bush; Carla Hills, the U.S. trade representative under George H.W. Bush; and William H. Taft IV, a former deputy secretary of defense and ambassador to NATO under the elder Bush.

Jeb Bush's son backs GOP nominee

Jeb Bush's son, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, is urging Republicans to support the man who beat his dad in a fiercely fought GOP primary. Addressing a closed-door gathering of Texas Republican Party leaders on Saturday, Bush called for helping Donald Trump win in November. "From Team Bush, it's a bitter pill to swallow. But you know what? You get back up and you help the man that won, and you make sure that we stop Hillary Clinton," Bush said in a video first posted online by the Texas Tribune. Bush declined further comment Monday. He has not publicly endorsed Trump and skipped the Republican National Convention. His father, uncle and grandfather — former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush — refuse to back Trump.

Moderate senator won't vote for Trump

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate, said Monday she will not be voting for Donald Trump for president. "This is not a decision I make lightly, for I am a lifelong Republican," Collins wrote in an op-ed column in the Washington Post. "But Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country." Collins also said she does not support Trump's rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Times wires