By Harry C. Blaney III & John Gall
Photo Credit via The Washington Post
A statement was released on Wednesday, signed by 75 former ambassadors and senior state department officials expressing their opposition to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and support for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. To view the entire letter, please check our document page on it.
The letter began with declarative statements of their diplomatic expertise and outlook on this November’s presidential election.
- Together, we have represented the United States as ambassadors in 52 countries or international organizations. We have hundreds of years of combined service.
- As career officers, we have served every President since Harry Truman, and have proudly represented every President since Richard Nixon as ambassadors or senior State Department officials in Senate-confirmed positions. We have served Republican and Democratic Presidents with pride and enthusiasm.
- None of us will vote for Donald J. Trump.
- Each of us endorses Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. Because the stakes in this election are so high, this is the first time many of us have publicly endorsed a candidate for President.
Typically, career civil servants take pride in both gaining valuable experience and displaying impartiality by serving for decades-long careers in the State Department, faithfully aiding the nation, regardless of which political party is in power. Although this impartiality normally carries over for many diplomatic officials by not endorsing political candidates for office, the letter explains the extraordinary circumstance under which this letter is written.
Very simply, this election is different from any election we can recall. One of the candidates — Donald J. Trump — is entirely unqualified to serve as President and Commander-in-Chief. He is ignorant of the complex nature of the challenges facing our country, from Russia to China to ISIS to nuclear proliferation to refugees to drugs, but he has expressed no interest in being educated.
Citing Trump’s frequent ignorant and offensive remarks he makes on the campaign trail and display of zero interest in learning from professional diplomats, these retired civil servants worry about the disastrous consequences a Trump presidency would have on the United States’ standing in the global community. The letter also points to the Republican nominee’s uncomfortably supportive comments on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
We fear the damage that such ineptitude could cause in our closest relationships as well as the succor it might offer our enemies.
The document then reviews the qualifications of Hillary Clinton, and although these diplomats include the caveat that they don’t all always agree with the decisions she has made as Secretary of State, they “have profound respect for her skills, dedication, intelligence, and diplomacy.” Considering the two choices for Commander-in-Chief, the letter reaches a succinct conclusion:
In this election there is only one team to represent our nation and lead our career foreign policy and security professionals in a manner befitting our role as the world’s sole superpower. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are the candidates we support.
The letter ends with the list of 75 signatories and their credentials while serving at the US Department of State.
This presidential election cycle has been unique in the number of the number of public servants speaking out in support or opposition of the two candidates. Earlier this month, the Trump campaign trotted out the endorsement of 88 retired military figures, to which the Clinton campaign responded with a list of her own 110 endorsements from retired military leaders. Although Trump’s military support could be attributed to his confusing interest in ending the sequester defense spending caps (as covered in this previous post), he’ll be hard-pressed to find as much support from former diplomats.
This letter represents a grave concern felt by many American diplomacy experts about a potential Trump presidency and the irreversible damage that could be caused to American international standing by a candidate whose ignorant of world affairs, thin-skinned, shameless, and prone to reckless actions.
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