For former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, Donald Trump does not have what it takes to be commander in chief.
In a New York Times op-ed published Friday, the 33-year agency veteran notes that he has been heretofore private with his political preferences and is registered as neither a Democrat nor a Republican.
“No longer. On Nov. 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton. Between now and then, I will do everything I can to ensure that she is elected as our 45th president,” wrote Morell.
Morell also suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin has successfully co-opted Trump’s message in complimenting the political neophyte and getting exactly what he wanted in return with more praise even in light of his strongman tendencies toward journalists and dissidents.
“In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation,” Morell wrote.
Morell laid out “two strongly held beliefs” that led him to the conclusion that Clinton should be president. The first of those, Morell explained, is that Clinton is “highly qualified” for the job and “will deliver on the most important duty of a president — keeping our nation safe.”
“Second, Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security,” he continued, noting his work with Clinton in her capacity of secretary of state and her resolute advocacy of the raid that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Trump “has no experience on national security,” Morell wrote.
“Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief,” Morell said, naming Trump’s “obvious need for self-aggrandizement, his overreaction to perceived slights, his tendency to make decisions based on intuition, his refusal to change his views based on new information, his routine carelessness with the facts, his unwillingness to listen to others and his lack of respect for the rule of law. The dangers that flow from Mr. Trump’s character are not just risks that would emerge if he became president. It is already damaging our national security.”
Trump’s evolving proposal to ban Muslim immigrants from the U.S. has also undermined national security, playing “into the hands of the jihadist narrative that our fight against terrorism is a war between religions,” he continued.
“My training as an intelligence officer taught me to call it as I see it. This is what I did for the C.I.A. This is what I am doing now,” Morell concluded. “Our nation will be much safer with Hillary Clinton as president.”
The forceful words from the former top official represent only the latest denouncement of Trump from within the intelligence community. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, for example, has expressed strong reservations about Trump leading the nation’s armed forces.
Clinton’s campaign featured Hayden and other conservative voices criticizing Trump’s temperament and preparedness in a new 30-second ad out Friday titled “Unfit.”
Trump responded to the latest attack on his foreign policy chops with a statement directly blaming both Clinton and President Barack Obama for “destabilizing the Middle East, having let ISIS take firm hold in Iraq, Libya and Syria, not to mention their allowing Americans to be slaughtered at Benghazi.”
“Clinton’s home email server that she lied to the American people about was a profound national security risk, and it should come as no surprise that her campaign would push out another Obama-Clinton pawn (who is not independent) to try to change the subject in a week when Clinton’s role in putting Iran on the path to nuclear weapons and this Administration being called out for sending $400 million in cash to the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism is on every front page in the country,” Trump said in a statement, in reference to the amount of money paid in cash to Iran earlier this year on the same day four American prisoners were freed. “Hillary Clinton has bad judgment and is unfit to serve as President,’ he added.
A slew of Republicans have either said they will not support Trump or outright defected to supporting Clinton, including Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, New York Rep. Richard Hanna, former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.
Frank Lavin, who served as director of the Office of Political Affairs under Ronald Reagan and ambassador to Singapore under George W. Bush, also endorsed Clinton in a statement provided to POLITICO.
“Having served under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, I’ve seen what it takes to be commander-in-chief, and to make split second decisions under extreme pressure – Donald Trump doesn’t have that,” Lavin said, calling Trump “temperamentally unfit to be president of the United States, and just the thought of him having access to nuclear codes is unnerving.
“I simply can’t support someone as erratic as Donald Trump,” Lavin continued. “That’s why for the first time in my life, I am voting for a Democrat for president, I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because she has what it takes to keep our country safe from threats here at home and abroad.”