Prominent GOP defense figures vow to work against Trump's election

Prominent GOP defense figures vow to work against Trump's election
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More than 70 Republicans from the defense establishment have signed an open letter refusing to support Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE for president.

"As committed and loyal Republicans, we are unable to support a Party ticket with Mr. Trump at its head," said the letter, posted Wednesday evening on the website War on the Rocks.  

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"We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office," it said. 

The letter was organized by Eliot A. Cohen, a former senior State Department official who served in the George W. Bush administration, and Bryan McGrath, managing director of the FerryBridge Group. 

It was signed by more than 60 other Republican foreign policy and defense experts, including former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick and former Undersecretaries of Defense Dov Zakheim and Eric Edelman.

It comes on the heels of Super Tuesday, where Trump won seven state primaries, and edged closer to being the Republican presidential nominee. 

While there has been criticism from military and defense experts over some of Trump's campaign rhetoric — particularly calling for bringing back waterboarding and torture — the letter marks the first organized effort by defense hawks against the real estate tycoon. 

"We have disagreed with one another on many issues, including the Iraq war and intervention in Syria. But we are united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency," the letter states. 

The signatories outlined clear core objections to Trump's foreign policy views articulated thus far. 

"His vision of American influence and power in the world is wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle. He swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence," they said.

"His advocacy for aggressively waging trade wars is a recipe for economic disaster in a globally connected world," they added.

They called Trump's embrace of the expansive use of torture "inexcusable." 

His "hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric undercuts the seriousness of combatting Islamic radicalism by alienating partners in the Islamic world making significant contributions to the effort" and endangers the safety and Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of American Muslims, they said. 

They also hit Trump's signature solution to illegal immigration to the U.S.: building a wall along the southern border and making Mexico pay for it. 

"Controlling our border and preventing illegal immigration is a serious issue, but his insistence that Mexico will fund a wall on the southern border inflames unhelpful passions, and rests on an utter misreading of, and contempt for, our southern neighbor," they said. 

They called his calls for close allies such as Japan to pay vast sums for protection the sentiment of a "racketeer, not the leader of the alliances that have served us so well since World War II." 

"His admiration for foreign dictators such as Vladimir Putin is unacceptable for the leader of the world’s greatest democracy," they said. 

"He is fundamentally dishonest," they add. "Evidence of this includes his attempts to deny positions he has unquestionably taken in the past, including on the 2003 Iraq war and the 2011 Libyan conflict. We accept that views evolve over time, but this is simply misrepresentation." 

The signatories called Trump's "equation of business acumen with foreign policy experience" false. 

"Not all lethal conflicts can be resolved as a real estate deal might, and there is no recourse to bankruptcy court in international affairs," they said. 

"Mr. Trump’s own statements lead us to conclude that as president, he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe, and which would diminish our standing in the world," they said.  

"Furthermore, his expansive view of how presidential power should be wielded against his detractors poses a distinct threat to civil liberty in the United States," they added.  

Read the letter here.