Energy & Environment

George W. Bush officials come out against Trump in open letter

Republicans who served top roles in President George W. Bush’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) are coming out against Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. 

The 12 former officials — and one former Energy Department official — criticized the Republican in an open letter Wednesday, led by former EPA head Christine Todd Whitman and former Transportation Secretary Mary Peters.

{mosads}“We believe in effective government, a society of hope and optimism balanced with realism, and a politics of civility and honesty. None of these values are present in Donald Trump’s campaign,” the ex-officials wrote.

The former Bush officials did not endorse Democrat Hillary Clinton for president, but said that Trump is not qualified to hold the office.

The letter comes near the end of a presidential campaign in which dozens upon dozens of longtime Republicans have denounced their party’s candidate.

Clinton has pounced on the defections in an attempt to paint Trump as too extreme for the GOP, hoping to push voters away from him.

The Wednesday letter follows an open declaration in August from 50 foreign policy experts who served in GOP administrations. In their letter, those experts opposed Trump while backing Clinton.

Those ex-officials warned that Trump exemplifies none of the traits that the Republican Party holds dear and “would be the most reckless president in American history.”

The EPA and DOT leaders drew a direct line from the foreign policy letter to theirs.

“From our experience in government and politics, we believe that his appeals to racial and religious differences, his unfounded charges and personal attacks against those with whom he disagrees, and his broad and repeated misuse of facts and data have damaged the future of our party and have undermined his ability to govern effectively, should he be elected,” they said.

On their specific environmental and transportation policy priorities, the former officials said Trump falls flat.

Trump, they wrote, has called for increased infrastructure spending, but “he has not been clear about the sources of new or additional revenues to support such an investment beyond substantially expanded federal borrowing.”

On the environment, they charge that Trump has irresponsibly called for “eliminating regulation without regard to the circumstances.”

William Ruckelshaus, an EPA head under Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and William Reilly, an EPA head under President George H.W. Bush, endorsed Clinton in an August letter that castigated Trump for endorsing what they saw as anti-environmental policies.

Whitman, a former New Jersey governor, has previously joined Ruckelshaus and Reilly in endorsing President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of his climate change agenda, which Trump has promised to repeal.

This story was corrected at 1:10 p.m. to reflect that the former officials oppose Trump. A previous version contained incorrect information. The Hill regrets the error.

Tags 2016 presidential election Department of Transportation Donald Trump Environmental Protection Agency Hillary Clinton
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