75 Former Senior Diplomats Sign a Letter Formally Opposing Trump’s Presidential Campaign

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.

We welcome your comments below!

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2 thoughts on “75 Former Senior Diplomats Sign a Letter Formally Opposing Trump’s Presidential Campaign

  1. Doug1961 October 9, 2016 / 9:55 AM

    Where’s the names? Anyone can regurgitate a claim.
    Like this endorsement:
    The 2016 election affords the American people an urgently needed opportunity to make a
    long-overdue course correction in our national security posture and policy. As retired senior
    leaders of America’s military, we believe that such a change can only be made by someone who
    has not been deeply involved with, and substantially responsible for, the hollowing out of our
    military and the burgeoning threats facing our country around the world. For this reason, we
    support Donald Trump’s candidacy to be our next Commander-in-Chief.
    For the past eight years, America’s armed forces have been subjected to a series of illconsidered
    and debilitating budget cuts, policy choices and combat operations that have left the
    superb men and women in uniform less capable of performing their vital missions in the future
    than we require them to be.
    Simultaneously, enemies of this country have been emboldened, sensing weakness and
    irresolution in Washington and opportunities for aggression at our expense and that of other
    freedom-loving nations.
    In our professional judgment, the combined effect is potentially extremely perilous. That
    is especially the case if our government persists in the practices that have brought us to this
    present pass.
    For this reason, we support Donald Trump and his commitment to rebuild our military, to
    secure our borders, to defeat our Islamic supremacist adversaries and restore law and order
    domestically. We urge our fellow Americans to do the same.
    1. General Burwell B. Bell III, US Army, Retired
    2. General Alfred G. Hansen, US Air Force, Retired
    3. Admiral Jerry Johnson, US Navy, Retired
    4. General Crosbie “Butch” Saint, US Army, Retired
    5. Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, US Army, Retired
    6. Lieutenant General Marvin Covault, US Army, retired
    7. Lieutenant General Gordon E, Fornell, US Air Force, Retired
    8. Lieutenant General Harley Hughes, US Air Force, Retired
    9. Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, US Air Force, Retired
    10. Lieutenant General Timothy A. Kinnan, US Air Force, Retired
    11. Lieutenant General Hugh G. Smith, US Army, Retired
    12. Lieutenant General David J. Teal, US Air Force, Retired
    13. Lieutenant General William E. Thurman, US Air Force, Retired
    14. Vice Admiral Mike Bucchi, US Navy, Retired
    15. Vice Admiral Edward Clexton, Jr. US Navy, Retired
    16. Vice Admiral R.F. Schoultz, US Navy, Retired
    17. Vice Admiral Donald Thompson, US Coast Guard, Retired
    18. Vice Admiral Jerry Unruh, US Navy, Retired
    19. Major General Joe Arbuckle, US Army, Retired
    20. Major General John Bianchi, CSMR, Retired
    21. Major General Henry D. Canterbury, US Air Force, Retired
    22. Major General Jeffrey Cliver, US Air Force, Retired
    23. Major General Tommy F. Crawford, US Air Force, Retired
    24. Major General Felix Dupre, US Air Force, Retired
    25. Major General Neil Eddins, US Air Force, Retired
    26. Major General David W. Eidsaune, US Air Force, Retired
    27. Major General William A. Gorton, US Air Force, Retired
    28. Major General Kenneth Hagemann, US Air Force, Retired
    29. Major General Gary L. Harrell, US Army, Retired
    30. Major General Geoffrey Higginbothan, US Marine Corps, Retired
    31. Major General John D. Logeman, Jr., US Air Force, Retired
    32. Major General Homer S. Long, US Army, Retired
    33. Major General Billy McCoy, US Air Force, Retired
    34. Major General Robert Messerli, US Air Force, Retired
    35. Major General John Miller, US Air Force, Retired
    36. Major General Ray O’Mara, US Air Force, Retired
    37. Major General George W.“Nordie” Norwood, US Air Force, Retired
    38. Major General Robert W. Paret, US Air Force MC, Retired
    39. Major General James W. Parker, US Army, Retired
    40. Major General Richard Perraut, US Air Force, Retired
    41. Major General Sidney Shachnow, US Army, Retired
    42. Major General Mark Solo, US Air Force, Retired
    43. Major General John Welde, US Air Force, Retired
    44. Major General Kenneth W. Weir, US Marine Corps, Retired
    45. Rear Admiral Phillip Anselmo, US Navy, Retired
    46. Rear Admiral Thomas F. Brown III, US Navy, Retired
    47. Rear Admiral Robert C. Crates, SC, US Navy, Retired
    48. Rear Admiral Mimi Drew, US Navy, Retired
    49. Rear Admiral Ernest Elliot, SC, US Navy, Retired
    50. Rear Admiral James H. Flatley III, US Navy, Retired
    51. Rear Admiral Byron Fuller, US Navy, Retired
    52. Rear Admiral Dale Hagen, US Navy, Retired
    53. Rear Admiral Charles F. Horne III US Navy, Retired
    54. Rear Admiral Grady L. Jackson, US Navy, Retired
    55. Rear Admiral J. Adrian Jackson, US Navy, Retired
    56. Rear Admiral Frederick C. Johnson, US Navy, Retired
    57. Rear Admiral Jack Kavanaugh, SC, US Navy, Retired
    58. Rear Admiral Charles R.Kubic, US Navy, Retired
    59. Rear Admiral Rich Landolt, US Navy, Retired
    60. Rear Admiral William J. McDaniel, MD, US Navy, Retired
    61. Rear Admiral E.S. McGinley II, US Navy, Retired
    62. Rear Admiral Douglas M. Moore Jr. SC US Navy. Retired
    63. Rear Admiral John A. Moriarty, US Navy, Retired
    64. Rear Admiral David R. Morris, US Navy, Retired
    65. Rear Admiral Ed Nelson, US Coast Guard, Retired
    66. Rear Admiral Philip R. Olsen, US Navy, Retired
    67. Rear Admiral Robert S. Owens, US Navy, Retired
    68. Rear Admiral W.W. Pickavance, Jr., US Navy, Retired
    69. Rear Admiral Leonard F. Picotte, US Navy, Retired
    70. Rear Admiral Brian C. Prindle, US Navy, Retired
    71. Rear Admiral William J. Ryan, US Navy, Retired
    72. Rear Admiral William L. Schachte, Jr., US Navy JAGC, Retired
    73. Rear Admiral William R. Schmidt, US Navy, Retired
    74. Rear Admiral Hugh P. Scott, US Navy, MC, Retired
    75. Rear Admiral Gregory Slavonic, US Navy, Retired
    76. Rear Admiral Charles Williams, US Navy, Retired
    77. Rear Admiral H. Denny Wisely, US Navy, Retired
    78. Brigadier General Remo Butler, US Army, Retired
    79. Brigadier General George P. Cole, Jr. US Air Force, Retired
    80. Brigadier General Philip M. Drew, US Air Force, Retired
    81. Brigadier General Jerome V. Foust, US Army, Retired
    82. Brigadier General Thomas W. Honeywill, US Air Force, Retired
    83. Brigadier General Charles Jones, US Air Force, Retired
    84. Brigadier General Mike D. Jones, US Army, Retired
    85. Brigadier General Thomas J. Lennon, US Air Force, Retired
    86. Brigadier General Mark D. Scraba, US Army, Retired
    87. Brigadier General Hugh B. Tant III, US Army, Retired
    88. Brigadier General Robert F. Titus, US Air Force, Retired

    That has validity.

    • nsintern October 9, 2016 / 4:59 PM

      As stated in the introduction of this blog post, the entirety of the letter is up on our documents section. If you were curious, here’s the list of signatories:

      “1. Morton Abramowitz – Ambassador to Turkey (1989-1991) Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (1985-1989), and Ambassador to Thailand (1978-1981)

      2. Frank Almaguer – Ambassador to Honduras (1999-2002)

      3. Diego Asencio – Ambassador to Brazil (1983-1986), Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs (1980-1983), Ambassador to Colombia (1977-1980)

      4. Robert Beecroft – Ambassador and Head of Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (2001-2004)

      5. Robert O. Blake – Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs (2009-2013), Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Republic of Maldives (2006-2009), Indonesia (2014-present)

      6. Charles Richard Bowers – Ambassador to Bolivia (1991-1994)

      7. Robert Bradtke – Ambassador to Croatia (2006-2009)

      8. Aurelia E. Brazeal – Ambassador to Ethiopia (2002-2005), Kenya (1993-1996), Federated States of Micronesia (1990-1993)

      9. Sue K. Brown – Ambassador to Montenegro (2011-2014)

      10. Susan Burk – Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation

      11. A. Peter Burleigh – Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Republic of Maldives (1995-1997)

      12. Nicholas Burns – Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and Ambassador to Greece

      13. Patricia Butenis – Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Republic of Maldives (2009-2012) and Bangladesh (2006-2007)

      14. Johnnie Carson – Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2009-2013), Ambassador to Kenya (1999-2003), Zimbabwe (1995-1997), Uganda (1991-1994)

      15. Carey Cavanaugh – Ambassador/Special Negotiator for Nagorno-Karabakh and New Independent States Regional Conflicts (2000-2001)

      16. Wendy Chamberlin – Ambassador to Pakistan (2001-2002) and Laos (1996-1999)

      17. Peter Chaveas – Ambassador to Sierra Leone (2001-2004), and Malawi (1994-1997)

      18. Marion Creekmore, Jr. – Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Republic of Maldives (1989-1992)

      19. Ryan Crocker – Ambassador to Lebanon (1990-1993), Kuwait (1994-1997), Syria (1998-2001), Pakistan (2004-2007), Iraq (2007-2009), Afghanistan (2011-2012)

      20. James B. Cunningham – Ambassador to Afghanistan (2012-2014), Israel (2008-2011), United Nations (2001)

      21. Jeffrey Davidow – Ambassador to Mexico (1998-2002), Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (1996-1998), Ambassador to Venezuela (1993-1996), Zambia (1988-1990)

      22. John Dinger – Ambassador to Mongolia (2000-2003)

      23. Nancy Ely-Raphel – Ambassador to Slovenia (1998-2001)

      24. Robert W. Farrand – Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands (1990-1993)

      25. Robert P. Finn – Ambassador to Afghanistan (2002-2003), Tajikistan (1999-2001)

      26. Robert Fitts – Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands (2003- 2006)

      27. Robert S. Gelbard – Ambassador to Indonesia (1999-2001), Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics Matters (1993-1997), Ambassador to Bolivia (1988-1991)

      28. Edward “Skip” Gnehm – Ambassador to Jordan (2001-2004), Australia (2000-2001), Kuwait (1991-1994) 29. Marc Grossman – Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (2001-2005), Ambassador to Turkey (1995-1997), Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs (1997-2000)

      30. Maura Harty – Ambassador to Paraguay (1997-1999), Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs (2002-2008)

      31. Thomas C. Hubbard – Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (2001-2004) and the Philippines (1996-2000)

      32. Edmund J. Hull – Ambassador to Yemen (2001-2004)

      33. Cameron R. Hume – Ambassador to Indonesia (2007-2010), Sudan (2005-2007), South Africa (2001-2004), Algeria (1997-2000)

      34. William H. Itoh – Ambassador to Thailand (1995-1999)

      35. Dennis Jett – Ambassador to Peru (1996-1999) and Mozambique (1993-1996)

      36. Linda Jewell – Ambassador to Ecuador (2005-2008)

      37. A. Elizabeth Jones – Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia (2003), Ambassador to Kazakhstan (1995-1997)

      38. James Keith – Ambassador to Malaysia (2007-2010)

      39. Laura Kennedy – Ambassador to Turkmenistan (2001-2003)

      40. Thomas C. Krajeski – Ambassador to the Republic of Yemen (2004-2007), Kingdom of Bahrain (2011-2014)

      41. Daniel C. Kurtzer – Ambassador to Israel (2001-2005), Egypt (1998-2001)

      42. Alphonse F. La Porta – Ambassador to Mongolia (1997-2000)

      43. Chris LaFleur – Ambassador to Malaysia (2005-2007)

      44. Edward Gibson Lanpher – Ambassador to Zimbabwe (1991-1995)

      45. Michael Lemmon – Ambassador to Armenia (1998-2001)

      46. James G. Lowenstein – Ambassador to Luxembourg (1977-1981)

      47. John Maisto – Ambassador to the Organization of American States (2003-2006), Venezuela (1997-2000), and Nicaragua (1993-1996)

      48. Edward Marks – Ambassador to Cape Verde (1977-1980), and Guinea-Bissau (1977-1980)

      49. Marshall McCallie – Ambassador to Namibia (1993-1996)

      50. Jackson McDonald – Ambassador to Guinea (2004-2007), The Gambia (2001-2004)

      51. Thomas J. Miller – Ambassador to Greece (2001-2004), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1999-2001)

      52. William Green Miller – Ambassador to Ukraine (1993-1998)

      53. Mark Minton – Ambassador to Mongolia (2006-2009)

      54. B. Lynn Pascoe – Ambassador to Indonesia (2004-2007), and Malaysia (1998-2001)

      55. June Perry – Ambassador to Sierra Leone (2007-2010), and Lesotho (2004-2007)

      56. Donald K. Petterson – Ambassador to Sudan (1992-1995), Tanzania (1986-1989), and Somalia (1978-1982)

      57. Thomas R. Pickering – Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (1997-2000), Ambassador to Russia (1993-1996), India (1992-1993), United Nations (1989-1992), Israel (1985-1988), El Salvador (1983-1985), Nigeria (1981-1983), Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (1978-1981), Ambassador to Jordan (1974- 1978)

      58. Nicholas Platt – Ambassador to Pakistan (1991-1992), Philippines (1987-1991), Zambia (1982- 1985)

      59. Nancy Powell – Ambassador to India (2012-2014), Nepal (2007-2010), Pakistan (2002-2004), Ghana (2001-2002), Uganda (1997-1999)

      60. Phyllis Powers – Ambassador to Nicaragua (2012-2015), and Panama (2010-2012)

      61. Charles A. Ray – Ambassador to Zimbabwe (2009-2012), Cambodia (2002-2005)

      62. Thomas B. Robertson – Ambassador to Slovenia (2004-2007)

      63. Howard B. Schaffer – Ambassador to Bangladesh (1984-1987)

      64. Teresita C. Schaffer – Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Republic of Maldives (1992-1995)

      65. Ints M. Silins – Ambassador to Latvia (1992-1995)

      66. Thomas W. Simons, Jr. – Ambassador to Pakistan (1996-1998) and Poland (1990-1993)

      67. Kathleen Stephens – Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (2008-2011)

      68. Gordon L. Streeb – Ambassador to Zambia (1990-1993)

      69. Nicholas Veliotes – Ambassador to Egypt (1984-1986), Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (1981-1984), and Ambassador to Jordan (1978-1981)

      70. Edward S. Walker, Jr. – Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (2000-2001), Ambassador to Israel (1997-1999), Egypt (1994-1997), United Arab Emirates (1989-1992)

      71. Alexander F. Watson – Ambassador to Peru (1986-1989), Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs (1993-1996)

      72. E. Ashley Wills – Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Republic of Maldives (2000-2003)

      73. Kenneth Yalowitz – Ambassador to Georgia (1998-2001) and Belarus (1994-1997)

      74. Johnny Young – Ambassador to Slovenia (2001-2004), Kingdom of Bahrain (1997-2001), Togo (1994-1997), Sierra Leone (1989-1992)

      75. Stephen M. Young – Ambassador to Kyrgyz Republic (2003-2005)”

      Hope this helps,

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