WASHINGTON — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would be a “dangerous” and unfit commander-in-chief because he has never paid attention to national security issues, a group of retired generals and admirals said Wednesday
“Donald Trump is not trustworthy,” retired Navy Rear Adm. Jamie Barnett said at a news conference. Barnett last served as deputy commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command. “Because he’s not trustworthy, he’s dangerous. We trust Hillary Clinton to be our commander-in-chief.”
Fifteen retired top military officials released a video they funded that supports the former secretary of state, saying her experience on the world stage and measured approach to sensitive issues are in the best interest of national security.
“If you look at Secretary Clinton’s resume and all the experiences she’s had, it just stands out,” retired Army Brig. Gen. Larry Gillespie Sr., who last served as the assistant deputy commanding general for the Army Materiel Command, said in the video.
All but one of the officers — retired Army Maj. Gen. John Hawkins — are among 110 retired military officials who have publicly endorsed Clinton. Trump has been endorsed by 120 retired generals and admirals.
A recent CBS News/New York Times poll found that 29 percent of registered voters say national security and terrorism is the chief issue they will consider this election.
Barnett and others emphasized Trump’s lack of knowledge on what it takes to be commander-in-chief and inability to separate business from politics, an issue for which Clinton has also taken heat in her role with the Clinton Foundation.
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Donna Barbisch, an expert in chemical and biological defense, said her daughter, an Air Force reservist, has been deployed several times and “I do not trust Donald Trump to put my soldier-daughter’s life before his business dealings.”
One of the retired generals, four-star Army Gen. Wesley Clark, a former supreme allied commander of NATO, ran for president in 2004 as a Democrat and endorsed Clinton in 2008; he said Clinton knows how to work with both Republicans and Democrats to get things done.
“(Trump) doesn’t do his homework,” he said. “There’s nothing in Donald Trump’s background that shows us he’s anything other than totally consumed by self-interest.”
Trump’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Ken Gude, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, said such a large independently organized showing underscored the magnitude of the group’s concerns with Trump as a measured commander-in-chief.
“When you hear people who have been on the front lines and understand how important it is to have a commander-in-chief that you trust come out so strongly in favor of Secretary Clinton, it’s indicative of what they see as the most important issues in a commander-in-chief,” he said.