Anti-Trump “Republican security officials”: From laughably wrong to tragically wrong

In August 2020, more than 130 self-described Republican national security officials endorsed Joe Biden for president. They proclaimed:

We believe Joe Biden has the character, experience, and temperament to lead this nation. We believe he will restore the dignity of the presidency, bring Americans together, reassert America’s role as a global leader, and inspire our nation to live up to its ideals.

I found this gang underwhelming. More impressive was the gang of one consisting of Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Gates believed that Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” He said so in his 2014 book and stood by that assessment when Joe Biden became a candidate in the 2020 election.

The statement of the anti-Trump gang was laughably false when issued. Today, in the wake of the Afghanistan debacle, it remains false, and grotesquely so, but no one is laughing.

Is it worth it to publish the names of the signatories? Maybe not, but I’ll do so anyway. See if you (1) find it as unimpressive, generally speaking, as I did and (2) can spot a few rogues.

Adm. Steve Abbot
Fmr Dep Homeland Security Advisor

Kenneth Adelman
Fmr Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

Amb. Peter Allgeier
Fmr Deputy US Trade Representative

Mary Catherine Andrews
Fmr Special Asst to the President

Richard Armitage
Fmr Deputy Secretary of State

Christopher Barton
Fmr Director, NSC Staff

Nancy Bearg
Fmr Senior Director, NSC Staff

John Bellinger
Fmr Legal Adviser, Dept of State

Adm. Kenneth Bernard
Fmr Special Asst to the President

Mark Bitterman
Fmr Special Asst to the Secretary of Defense

Amb. Robert Blackwill
Fmr Deputy National Security Advisor

Christian Bonat
Fmr Dep General Counsel, Defense Dept

Amb. Richard Boucher
Fmr Asst Secretary of State

Amb. Charles Bowers
Fmr US Ambassador

Bertram Braun
Fmr Director, NSC Staff

Amb. Peter Bridges
Fmr US Ambassador

Douglas Brook
Fmr Asst Secretary of the Army

Linton Brooks
Fmr Under Secretary of Energy

Greg Brower
Fmr Asst Director of the FBI

Kara Bue
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State

Amb. Richard Burt
Fmr US Ambassador to Germany

Sally Canfield
Fmr Dep Chief of Staff, Dept of Homeland Security

Victor Cha
Fmr Director, NSC Staff

Amb. Jack Chow
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State

Thomas Christensen
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State

Eliot Cohen
Fmr Counselor of the Dept of State

Joseph Collins
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of Defense

Heather Conley
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State

Bret Coulson
Fmr Director, NSC Staff

Chester Crocker
Fmr Asst Secretary of State

Patrick Cronin
Fmr Asst Administrator, USAID

Amb. Sada Cumber
Fmr US Special Envoy to the OIC​

Mike Donley
Fmr Secretary of the Air Force

Raymond DuBois
Fmr Acting Under Secretary of the Army

Lewis Dunn
Fmr Asst Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

Amb. Eric Edelman
Fmr Under Secretary of Defense

Gary Edson
Fmr Deputy National Security Advisor

Richard Falkenrath
Fmr Dep Asst to the President

Amb. Julie Finley
Fmr US Ambassador

Carl Ford
Fmr Asst Secretary of State

Aaron Friedberg
Fmr Dep Asst to the Vice President

William Gaches
Fmr Director of Counterterrorism, NSA

Janice Gardner
Fmr Asst Secretary of the Treasury

John Gardner
Fmr Special Asst to the President

Amb. James Glassman
Fmr Under Secretary of State

Amb. Jon Glassman
Fmr Dep National Security Advisor to the Vice President

David Gordon
Fmr Director, State Dept, Policy Planning

Colleen Graffy
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State

Michael Green
Fmr Senior Director, NSC Staff

Sen. Chuck Hagel
Fmr Secretary of Defense and US Senator

Christopher Hankin
Fmr Dep Asst Secretry of State

Mark Harvey
Fmr Special Asst to the President

Gen. Michael Hayden
Fmr Director of the CIA and the NSA

Amb. Carla Hills
Fmr US Trade Representative

Seth Hurwitz
Fmr Counsel, President’s Intelligence Oversight Board

Ash Jain
Fmr Member, State Dept Policy Planning

Les Janka
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of Defense

Neil Joeck
Fmr Director, NSC Staff

Amb. Richard Kauzlarich
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State

James Kelly
Fmr Asst Secretary of State

Donald Kerr
Fmr Princ Dep Director of National Intelligence

Rep. Jim Kolbe
Fmr Member of Congress

David Kramer
Fmr Asst Secretary of State

Stephen Krasner
Fmr Director, State Dept Policy Planning

Ken Krieg
Fmr Under Secretary of Defense

James Kunder
Fmr Deputy Administrator, USAID

Amb. Frank Lavin
Fmr Under Secretary of Commerce

Rep. Jim Leach
Fmr Member of Congress

Bruce Lemkin
Fmr Dep Under Secretary of the Air Force

Michael Leiter
Fmr Director, National Counterterrorism Ctr

Peter Lichtenbaum
Fmr Asst Secretary of Commerce

Amb. Winston Lord
Fmr US Ambassador

James Loy
Fmr Dep Secretary of Homeland Security

Peter Madigan
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary State

Amb. Steven Mann
Fmr Prin Dep Asst Secretary of State

Col. John McDonald
Fmr Dep Under Secretary of the Army

Bryan McGrath
Former US Navy Officer

Amb. Michael McKinley
Fmr US Ambassador

Christopher Mellon
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of Defense

David Merkel
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of State

John Mitnick
Fmr General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security

Allen Moore
Fmr Under Secretary of Commerce

Alberto Mora
Fmr Gen Counsel, Dept of the Navy

Holly Morrow
Fmr Director, NSC Staff

Kenneth Mortensen
Fmr Assoc Dep Attorney General

Virginia Mulberger
Fmr Special Asst to the President

Alden Munson
Fmr Dep Director of National Intelligence

Amb. John Negroponte
Fmr Director of National Intelligence, and Fmr Deputy Secretary of State

Elizabeth Neumann
Fmr Asst Secretary of Homeland Security

Sean O’Keefe
Fmr Secretary of the Navy and NASA Administrator

Douglas Paal
Fmr Senior Director, NSC Staff

Larry Pfeiffer
Fmr Chief of Staff, CIA

William Piekney
Fmr Chief of Station, CIA

Daniel Price
Fmr Dep National Security Advisor

Sen. Larry Pressler
Fmr US Senator

Clyde Prestowitz
Fmr Counselor to the Secretary of Commerce

Victor Reis
Fmr Director, Defense Adv Research Projects Agency

Paul Rosenzweig
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of Homeland Security

Nicholas Rostow
Fmr NSC Legal Adviser

Kori Schake
Fmr Prin Dep Director, State Dept Policy Planning

Wayne Schroeder
Fmr Dep Under Secretary of Defense

Amb. Gregory Schulte
Fmr Senior Director, NSC Staff

Robert Shanks
Fmr Dep Asst Attorney General

Amb. Thomas Shannon
Fmr Under Secretary of State

Rep. Christopher Shays
Fmr Member of Congress

John Simon
Fmr Senior Director, NSC Staff

Stephen Slick
Fmr Senior Director, NSC Staff

Amb. Mark Storella
Fmr US Ambassador

Timothy Stratford
Fmr Asst US Trade Representative

Amb. William Taft
Fmr Deputy Secretary of Defense

Shirin Tahir-Kheli
Fmr Special Asst to the President

Miles Taylor
Fmr Chief of Staff, Dept of Homeland Security

William Tobey
Fmr Dep Administrator, Nat Nuclear Security Admin

Jack Tomarchio
Fmr Princ Dep Under Secretary of Homeland Security

Olivia Troye
Fmr Special Advisor to the Vice President

Amb. Robert Tuttle
Fmr US Ambassador to the United Kingdom

John Veroneau
Fmr Dep US Trade Representative

Michael Vickers
Fmr Under Secretary of Defense

Ken Wainstein
Fmr Homeland Security Advisor

David Waller
Fmr Asst Secretary of Energy

Thomas Ward
Fmr Director of Threats, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization

Sen. John Warner
Fmr US Senator

Matthew Waxman
Fmr Prin Dep Director, State Dept Policy Planning

William Webster
Fmr Director of the CIA and FBI

Wendell Willkie II
Fmr General Counsel, Dept of Commerce

John Woodworth
Fmr Dep Asst Secretary of Defense

John Wolf
Fmr Asst Secretary of State

Dov Zakheim
Fmr Under Secretary of Defense

Philip Zelikow
Fmr Counselor of the Dept of State

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