In the latest salvo of dueling military endorsements for U.S. president, the Joe Biden campaign announced that over 200 retired generals and admirals endorsed Biden for president. This comes only a week after the Trump campaign released a letter with 235 retired generals and admirals endorsing Trump for president.
As expected, the Biden endorsements are receiving much wider mainstream media coverage than the earlier Trump endorsements. And the coverage was also openly misleading.
NBC news falsely stated that “Thursday’s letter was notable for the sheer number of top brass from every branch of the military who chose to endorse Biden.” NBC clearly missed the story of the 235 retired military leaders who had endorsed Trump just a week earlier.
The Peacock network did correctly emphasize that some of these retired military officers “served under Trump.” In addition to these retired military leaders, other former national security officials also endorsed Biden.
Unsurprisingly, these included five former Secretaries of Defense who served in either the Clinton or Obama administrations: William Perry under Clinton, William Cohen under Clinton, Chuck Hagel under Obama, and Ash Carter under Obama. The fact that these all served in Democrat administrations revealed a lot more of the partisan agenda at work.
Sadly, the Biden endorsement was almost totally bereft of any real policy or substance. The primary critique of President Trump was subjectively focused on “character,” which could equally be described as “personality.” And many on both sides can criticize.
When it comes to real, actual defense policies, there is a clear disconnect.
Admitting they may have serious reservations with Biden’s actual defense policies, these military leaders wrote, “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.”
However, as with most of the Trump critiques, there was little of real substance to back that up. They certainly did not delve in Biden’s history of compulsive plagiarism, fibbing, hair smelling and inappropriate touching – or his helping his son Hunter make lucrative business deals with the communist Chinese while he was Vice President – to support why Biden has better “judgment” or “values.”
And the only time the letter wades into policy, it is profoundly embarrassing. It mentions climate change, repeats Democrat talking points on the uncorroborated “Russian bounties” story, and even inverts Trump’s resolute stand to contain China into a domestic policy issue. All this makes the letter even more overtly political and partisan.
The letter says, “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.”
Ignored by all these military “luminaries” is the fact that under President Trump, U.S. greenhouse gasses have declined, that the U.S has had demonstrably stronger policies across the board on Russia than the Obama-Biden team ever had, that Trump took a calculated gamble to shake up decades of failed U.S. policies toward North Korea, which while not producing results, ended no worse than the previous status quo.
Of course, they also ignored one of the most significant foreign policy accomplishments of the decade, if not longer, the Trump-initiated and concluded peace deals between two Arab states and Israel – something that will likely change the entire strategic landscape in the Middle East.
Most astonishing, and deeply concerning, is the willingness of these national security leaders, to not just ignore, but criticize — on the weakest of domestic reasons — the President’s bold and forceful approach to contain America’s number one existential threat – communist China. Something that was desperately needed, but not done by any other prior President.
This alone severely undercuts the credibility of every single one of these retired military officers and officials.
Apparently, these retired military and other leaders care more about what Trump tweets, or says offhand in a political campaign stop, than real foreign and defense policies that concretely enhance American national security.
This endorsement should not influence voters who really care about national security.