GOP national security leaders sign letter vowing to actively oppose Donald Trump

The GOP national security establishment votes no on Donald Trump
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On Wednesday, 60 prominent Republican former national security officials and experts released an open letter calling Donald Trump a dangerous foreign policy naif who as president "would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe" and pose "a distinct threat to civil liberty in the United States." Therefore, the signatories concluded, "as committed and loyal Republicans, we are unable to support a party ticket with Mr. Trump at its head. We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office."

The national security experts, as they say at the top of the letter, do "represent a broad spectrum of opinion." There are noted hawks like Robert Kagan, Max Boot, Randy Scheunemann, John Noonan, and Roger Noriega, and also more centrist experts like Robert Zoellick, Daniel Drezner, and Andrew Natsios. And after this, it's hard to imagine any of them having a job in a Trump administration.

They don't just disavow Trump, they also list some reasons why, including: "His admiration for foreign dictators such as Vladimir Putin"; his "wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle" vision of "American influence and power in the world"; his economically disastrous "advocacy for aggressively waging trade wars"; his "inexcusable" and repugnant "embrace of the expansive use of torture"; "his hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric" and "utter misreading of, and contempt for," Mexico; and their belief that Trump "is fundamentally dishonest."

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The target audience of the letter is probably not hard-core Trump supporters, since "establishment" isn't a selling point for that segment of the electorate. But sometimes you have to take a stand, and you can read the GOP national security community's letter at War on the Rocks.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.