A group of 75 former career U.S. ambassadors and senior State Department officials have released a letter vowing not to vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, blasting him as “entirely unqualified” to serve as commander-in-chief.
The letter released Thursday notes that its signatories — with hundreds of years of combined service — have served under both Democratic and Republican presidents and have represented the United States in 52 countries and international organizations.
All have endorsed Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
“Because the stakes in this election are so high, this is the first time many of us have publicly endorsed a candidate for President,” the letter said. “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.”
The group said Trump remains ignorant of the challenges facing the U.S., including Russia, China, the Islamic State group, nuclear proliferation and refugees. And he has “expressed no interest in being educated,” it said.
“We fear the damage that such ineptitude could cause in our closest relationships as well as the succor it might offer our enemies,” the group added.
The statement said Clinton offered a stark contrast to Trump’s views and offered up “profound respect” for her skills, dedication, intelligence, and diplomacy” — despite their party’s differences.
Thursday’s letter, first reported by The Washington Post, is the latest salvo to question Trump’s suitability for the nation’s highest office. The Republican nominee has been pilloried by former Democratic officials and even by those from his own party.
Last month, 50 former national security officials who had served in Republican administrations issued a statement saying that they, too, would refrain from voting for Trump in November. Those former officials said Trump “lacks the character, values, and experience” to be president.
Trump, the officials warned, “would be the most reckless president in American history.”
In March, another group representing the Republican national security community issued a similar letter vowing to work to prevent the election of Trump. That open letter currently has 121 signatories.
Trump has drawn fire from foreign policy circles for his praise and admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, his offer of direct talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his threat to remove troops from Japan and South Korea unless the two Asian allies cough up more money to retain them.
In August, Trump criticized the U.S.-Japan security treaty, labeling it unfair.
“You know we have a treaty with Japan where if Japan is attacked, we have to use the full force and might of the United States,” Trump said on Aug. 6. “If we’re attacked, Japan doesn’t have to do anything. They can sit home and watch Sony television, OK?”
His criticism of Japan came just days after North Korea lobbed a ballistic missile into the country’s Sea of Japan exclusive economic zone for the first time on Aug. 3.
North Korea continues to develop its nuclear weapons and missile programs despite stringent United Nations sanctions and international outcry and on Sept. 9, Pyongyang carried out its fifth successful nuclear test.
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