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Sept. 24, 2020, 10:55 p.m. EDT

‘Open letter to America’ signed by 489 national-security leaders calls Trump ‘not equal to the enormous responsibilities of his office’

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, ‘is, above all, a good man with a strong sense of right and wrong,’ states letter from retired generals, admirals, NCOs, ambassadors and national-security officials

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NationalSecurityLeaders4Biden.com

With the presidential election just 40 days away, it’s hardly surprising to see a number of prominent Americans putting chips on the table and voicing a preference for four more years of Donald Trump or a return to the White House of a former two-term vice president, Democrat Joe Biden.

Noteworthy Republicans bolting the Trump camp, naturally, have made headlines, as have endorsements of Biden by former high-ranking officials under Trump, including, of late, Miles Taylor, who served as chief of staff in the Homeland Security Department, and Olivia Troye, Vice President Mike Pence’s homeland-security adviser. Sen. John McCain’s widow, Cindy, endorsed Biden this week, and Rick Snyder, the former Republican governor of Michigan, not only said he’d vote for Biden but called Trump a bully and a divider of the American people.

Don’t miss: Trump refuses to commit to peaceful transition of power

Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard /zigman2/quotes/203461582/composite HPQ -0.68%   /zigman2/quotes/201998588/composite HPE -1.92%  CEO and a member of the large Republican presidential field that in 2016 produced as party nominee Trump, took Biden’s side this summer.

Colin Powell, the Republican former chairman of the Joint Chiefs and secretary of state, spoke at the Democratic nominating convention, as did former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

That drip-drip-drip turned into a fire hose on Wednesday with a bipartisan open letter signed by nearly 500 national-security leaders including such noteworthy names as those of former defense secretaries, from both parties; two former national-security advisers; a number of past secretaries of the military service branches; and various members of the intelligence-agency brass.

Here is that letter in its entirety, unedited:

AN OPEN LETTER TO AMERICA

September 24, 2020

To Our Fellow Citizens:

​We are former public servants who have devoted our careers, and in many cases risked our lives, for the United States. We are generals, admirals, senior noncommissioned officers, ambassadors, and senior civilian national security leaders. We are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. We love our country. Unfortunately, we also fear for it. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven America needs principled, wise, and responsible leadership. America needs a President who understands, as President Harry S. Truman said, that “the buck stops here.”

We the undersigned endorse Joe Biden to be the next President of the United States. He is the leader our nation needs.

We believe that Joe Biden is, above all, a good man with a strong sense of right and wrong. He is guided by the principles that have long made America great: democracy is a hard-won right we must defend and support at home and abroad; America’s power and influence stem as much from her moral authority as it does from her economic and military power; America’s free press is invaluable, not an enemy of the people; those who sacrifice or give their lives in service of our nation deserve our respect and eternal gratitude; and America’s citizens benefit most when the United States engages with the world. Joe Biden will always put the nation’s needs before his own.

Those who have served know empathy is a vital leadership quality – you cannot do what is best for those you lead if you do not know their challenges. Joe Biden has empathy born of his humble roots, family tragedies and personal loss. When Americans are struggling, Joe Biden understands their pain and takes it upon himself to help.

​We believe America’s president must be honest, and we find Joe Biden’s honesty and integrity indisputable. He believes a nation’s word is her bond. He believes we must stand by the allies who have stood by us. He remembers how America’s NATO allies rushed to her side after 9/11; how the Kurds fought by our side to defeat ISIS; and how Japan and South Korea have been steadfast partners in countering North Korean and Chinese provocations. Joe Biden would never sell out our allies to placate despots or because he dislikes an allied leader.

​While some of us may have different opinions on particular policy matters, we trust Joe Biden’s positions are rooted in sound judgment, thorough understanding, and fundamental values.

We know Joe Biden has the experience and wisdom necessary to navigate America through a painful time. He has grappled with America’s most difficult foreign policy challenges for decades, learning what works – and what does not – in a dangerous world. He is knowledgeable, but he also knows that listening to diverse and dissenting views is essential, particularly when making tough decisions concerning our national security. Many of us have briefed Joe Biden on matters of national security, and we know he demands a thorough understanding of any issue before making a decision – as any American president should.

Finally, Joe Biden believes in personal responsibility. Over his long career, he has learned hard lessons and grown as a leader who can take positive action to unite and heal our country. It is unthinkable that he would ever utter the phrase “I don’t take responsibility at all.”

​The next president will inherit a nation – and a world – in turmoil. The current President has demonstrated he is not equal to the enormous responsibilities of his office; he cannot rise to meet challenges large or small. Thanks to his disdainful attitude and his failures, our allies no longer trust or respect us, and our enemies no longer fear us. Climate change continues unabated, as does North Korea’s nuclear program. The president has ceded influence to a Russian adversary who puts bounties on the heads of American military personnel, and his trade war against China has only harmed America’s farmers and manufacturers. The next president will have to address those challenges while struggling with an economy in a deep recession and a pandemic that has already claimed more than 200,000 of our fellow citizens. America, with 4% of the world’s population suffers with 25% of the world’s COVID-19 cases. Only FDR and Abraham Lincoln came into office facing more monumental crises than the next president.

Joe Biden has the character, principles, wisdom, and leadership necessary to address a world on fire. That is why Joe Biden must be the next President of the United States; why we vigorously support his election; and why we urge our fellow citizens to do the same.

​Sincerely,

<STRONG>Executive Director of National Security Leaders for Biden:​</STRONG>

Rear Admiral Michael E. Smith, USN (Ret)

Leadership of National Security Leaders for Biden:​

Admiral Steve Abbot, USN (Ret)

Major General Donna Feigley Barbisch, USA (Ret)

Steven Brock, former Director, National Security Council

Major General Peter S. Cooke, USA (Ret)

Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy

Carlos Del Toro, former Senior Military Assistant, Department of Defense

Brigadier General John W. Douglass, USAF (Ret), former Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Michèle Flournoy, former Under Secretary of Defense

Lieutenant General Walt Gaskin, USMC (Ret)

<STRONG>Senior Military Spouse Advisors:</STRONG>

Marjorie Abbot

Sheila L. Casey

Gert Clark

Mary Jo Myers

Ms. Suzie Schwartz

Members of National Security Leaders for Biden:

Ambassador Gina K. Abercrombie-Winstanley (Ret)

Ambassador Charles C. Adams, Jr.

Gordon M. Adams, Ph.D., former Associate Director, Office of Management and Budget

Brigadier General Clara L. Adams-Ender, USA (Ret)

Major General James A. Adkins, USA (Ret)

Major General Jerald N. Albrecht, USA (Ret)

Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State

Clifford L. Alexander, former Secretary of the Army

Eric R. Allison, former Deputy Assistant Director of the CIA

Michael Amato, former Professional Staff Member, House Armed Services Committee

Brigadier General Steven M. Anderson, USA (Ret)

Wendy R. Anderson, former Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense

Command Sergeant Major Victor S. Angry, USA (Ret)

Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte (Ret), former Acting Assistant Secretary of State

Brigadier General Ricardo Aponte, USAF (Ret)

Richard L. Armitage, former Deputy Secretary of State

Major General Wallace Arnold, USA (Ret)

Vice Admiral Donald Arthur, USN (Ret)

Rear Admiral Tom Atkin, USCG (Ret)

Sergeant Major Sean A. Baker, USA (Ret)

Brigadier General Roosevelt Barfield, USA (Ret)

Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, USN (Ret)

Rear Admiral Danelle Barrett, USN (Ret)

Ambassador Leslie A. Bassett (Ret)

Ambassador Michael A. Battle, Sr.

R. Rand Beers, former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security

Ambassador Colleen Bell

Virginia L. Bennett, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Hans Binnendijk, Ph.D., former Special Assistant to the President, National Security Council

Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill (Ret), former Deputy National Security Advisor

Ambassador Robert Blake (Ret)

Charles A. Blanchard, former General Counsel of the Air Force

Ambassador James Blanchard (Ret), former Governor of Michigan

Lieutenant General Ronald R. Blanck, USA (Ret)

Ambassador John Blaney

Ambassador Avis T. Bohlen (Ret), former Assistant Secretary of State

Major General Charles “Charlie” F. Bolden Jr., USMC (Ret), former Administrator of NASA

Major General Edward L. Bolton, Jr., USAF (Ret)

Ambassador Amy L. Bondurant

Jason Bordoff, former Special Assistant to the President, National Security Council

General Chuck Boyd, USAF (Ret)

Lieutenant General John A. Bradley, USAF (Ret)

Brigadier General David M. Brahms, USMC (Ret)

Lieutenant General Marvin D. Brailsford, USA (Ret)

Patty Brandmaier, former Senior Executive Officer, CIA

Ambassador Aurelia E. Brazeal (Ret)

Ambassador James “Wally” Brewster, Jr.

Major General John W. Brooks, USAF (Ret)

Command Sergeant Major Dwight J. Brown, USA (Ret)

Ambassador Sue K. Brown

Mark Brunner, former Senior Advisor to U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)

Ambassador George Bruno (Ret)

Joseph M. Bryan, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Theresa T. Buchanan, former Member, Uniform Formulary Beneficiary Advisory Panel

Kara L. Bue, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Ambassador Nicholas Burns (Ret), former Under Secretary of State

Ambassador William J. Burns (Ret), former Deputy Secretary of State

Sergeant Major William Burton, USMC (Ret)

Ambassador Prudence Bushnell (Ret)

Rear Admiral John Butler, USN (Ret)

Louis E. Caldera, former Secretary of the Army

Dan Caldwell, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Pepperdine University

Gabe Camarillo, former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force

Lieutenant General Donald M. Campbell, Jr., USA (Ret)

John R. Campbell, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Brigadier General Kristine K. Campbell, Ph.D., USA (Ret)

Kurt M. Campbell, former Assistant Secretary of State

Mario Caraballo, former Deputy Associate Administrator, EPA

Sergeant Major Rosemarie Caraballo, USA (Ret)

Vice Admiral James C. Card, USCG (Ret)

Robert Cardillo, former Director of the NGA

Patrick Carrick, Ph.D., former Agency Director, Department of Homeland Security

Ashton B. Carter, former Secretary of Defense

Steven A. Cash, former CIA Officer and Senate Staff

Lieutenant General John Castellaw, USMC (Ret)

Ambassador Judith B. Cefkin

Rear Admiral Bill Center, USN (Ret)

Ambassador Peter R. Chaveas (Ret)

Antonia Chayes, former Under Secretary of the Air Force

Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney, USMC (Ret)

General Peter W. Chiarelli, USA (Ret)

Admiral Hank Chiles, USN (Ret), former Commander U.S. Strategic Command

Lieutenant General James Clapper, USAF (Ret), former Director of National Intelligence

General Wesley Clark, USA (Ret), former Commander U.S. European Command

Brigadier General Julia Jeter Cleckley, USA (Ret)

Rear Admiral William W. Cobb, Jr., USN (Ret)

David S. Cohen, former Deputy Director of the CIA

William Cohen, former Secretary of Defense

Harry Coker, Jr., former Executive Director of the NSA

Rear Admiral Christopher W. Cole, USN (Ret)

Lieutenant General Ronald S. Coleman, USMC (Ret)

Joseph J. Collins, Ph.D., former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense

Erin C. Conaton, former Under Secretary of Defense

Ambassador Elinor G. Constable (Ret)

Major General J. Gary Cooper, USMC (Ret)

Ambassador Cindy L. Courville, Ph.D. (Ret)

Daniel T. Crocker, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce

Ambassador James B. Cunningham (Ret)

Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist Marilee Cunningham, USN (Ret)

William B. Daitch, former Assistant Director, Department of Homeland Security

John H. Dalton, former Secretary of the Navy

Major General Stephen L. Danner, USA (Ret)

Rear Admiral John P. Davis, USN (Ret)

Robert V. Davis, former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense

Ambassador Ruth A. Davis (Ret)

Lieutenant General Michael Davison, Jr., USA (Ret)

Daniel Dawson, former Senior Executive, Defense Intelligence Agency

Rear Admiral Scott D. Deitchman, MD, MPH, USPHS (Ret)

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis (Ret)

Ambassador Greg Delawie (Ret)

Rudy DeLeon, former Deputy Secretary of Defense

Joan Dempsey, former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence

Major General Susan Y. Desjardins, USAF (Ret)

Major General Richard T. Devereaux, USAF (Ret)

Rear Admiral Kelvin N. Dixon, USN (Ret)

Ambassador Kathleen Doherty (Ret)

Michael B. Donley, former Secretary of the Air Force

Brigadier General Barbara Doornink, USA (Ret)

Greg Douquet, National Security Leader

Martha E. Duncan, former Chief DIA Defense Human Intelligence Enterprise

Vice Admiral Joseph Dyer, USN (Ret)

Ambassador William C. Eacho

Major General Paul Eaton, USA (Ret)

Ambassador William A. Eaton (Ret)

R.P. Eddy, former Director, National Security Council

Eric Edelman, former Under Secretary of Defense

Major General Mari K. Eder, USA (Ret)

Ambassador Susan M. Elliott (Ret)

Ambassador John B. Emerson (Ret)

Major General William L. Enyart, USA (Ret), former U.S. Congressman (IL-12)

Sergeant Major John L. Estrada, USMC (Ret)

Rear Admiral Stephen C. Evans, USN (Ret)

Elisa Ewers, former Director, National Security Council

Major General John Ewers, USMC (Ret)

Vice Admiral Ron Eytchison, USN (Ret)

Roland Fabia, former Chief of Corporate Engagement, Defense Intelligence Agency

Richard A. Falkenrath, former Deputy Homeland Security Advisor

Brigadier General Robert J. Felderman, USA (Ret)

Ambassador Judith R. Fergin (Ret)

Sergeant Major Ronald E. Fetherson, USMC (Ret)

Brigadier General Evelyn “Pat” Foote, USA (Ret)

Ambassador Robert S. Ford (Ret)

Brigadier General Martin E.B. France, USAF (Ret)

Vice Admiral Michael T. Franken, USN (Ret)

Command Chief Master Sergeant Shelina E. Frey, USAF (Ret)

Rear Admiral Michael S. Frick, USN (Ret)

Rear Admiral Robert Ellis Frick, USN (Ret)

Ambassador Laurie S. Fulton

Ambassador Julie Furuta-Toy

Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel

Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith

Rear Admiral James M. Galloway, MD, USPHS (Ret)

Juan M Garcia, former Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, USA (Ret)

Brigadier General Jonathan George, USAF (Ret)

Ambassador Gordon D. Giffin

Daniel B. Ginsberg, former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force

Brigadier General Robert A. Glacel, USA (Ret)

Rear Admiral Fred Stephen Glass, USN (Ret)

Sherri W. Goodman, former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense

Rose Gottemoeller, former Under Secretary of State

W. Scott Gould, former Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Vice Admiral Kevin Patrick Green, USN (Ret)

Ambassador Lino Gutiérrez (Ret)

Ambassador Howard Gutman

Ambassador Nina Hachigian

Major General Richard S. Haddad, USAF (Ret)

Rear Admiral Marlene E. Haffner, MD, MPH, USPHS (Ret)

Chuck Hagel, former Secretary of Defense

Avril Haines, former Deputy Director of the CIA

Robert Hale, former Under Secretary of Defense

Major General Irv Halter, USAF (Ret)

Ambassador Pamela K. Hamamoto

Rear Admiral Janice M. Hamby, USN (Ret)

Ambassador S. Fitzgerald Haney

Mary B. Hannagan, former Director of Staffing, Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Ken Harbaugh, National Security Leader

Major General Robert A. Harding, USA (Ret)

Rear Admiral Jeffrey A. Harley, USN (Ret)

Ambassador Anthony Harrington

Major General Jerry C. Harrison, USA (Ret)

United States Senator Gary Hart (Ret)

Tom N. Harvey, former Assistant Secretary of Defense

General Michael Hayden, USAF (Ret), former Director of the CIA

Major General Ralph L. Haynes, MD, MBA, USA (Ret)

General Richard D. Hearney, USMC (Ret)

Rear Admiral Clare Helminiak, MD, MPH, USPHS (Ret)

Ambassador Bruce Alan Heyman

Ambassador Douglas T. Hickey

John R. Hoag, former Principal Director for Policy, U.S. Mission to NATO

Laura S. H. Holgate, former Special Assistant to the President, National Security Council

Lieutenant General Reynold N. Hoover, USA (Ret)

Vice Admiral P. Gardner Howe, III, USN (Ret)

Ambassador Vicki J. Huddleston (Ret), former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Ambassador David Huebner

James G. Huse, Jr., former Inspector General of the SSA

Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, JAGC USN (Ret)

Paul Ignatius, former Secretary of the Navy

Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth (Ret), former Assistant Secretary of State

Chris Inglis, former Deputy Director of the NSA

Admiral Bobby Inman, USN (Ret), former Deputy Director of the CIA

Brigadier General David R. Irvine, USA (Ret)

Ambassador Roberta S. Jacobson (Ret)

Ambassador Tracey Ann Jacobson (Ret)

Deborah Lee James, former Secretary of the Air Force

Lieutenant General Arlen D. Jameson, USAF (Ret)

Major General Randy Jayne, USAF (Ret)

Ray Jefferson, former Assistant Secretary, Department of Labor

Brigadier General John Johns, USA (Ret)

Brigadier General Axel Alfred Johnson III, USA (Ret)

Ambassador David T. Johnson (Ret)

Command Chief Master Sergeant Jack Johnson, Jr., USAF (Ret)

Major General James Johnson, USAF (Ret)

Lieutenant General Michelle D. Johnson, USAF (Ret)

Ambassador Beth Jones (Ret)

Brigadier General C. Jerome Jones, USAF (Ret)

Ambassador Deborah K. Jones

Major General Michael Jones, USA (Ret)

/zigman2/quotes/203461582/composite
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