A former senior military adviser to President Donald Trump has endorsed Joe Biden for president.
Retired Gen. Paul Selva, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is one of nearly 500 national security experts and former officials who signed a letter in support of Biden over Trump in an open letter to America.
Visit CNN’s Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 race
Selva was re-nominated to the Joint Chiefs by Trump in 2017 after being first appointed by President Barack Obama in 2015. As vice chairman, he was deeply involved in the nation’s nuclear weapons program, and his endorsement is especially notable because recently retired officers generally stay out of politics.
“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 letter reads.
It goes on to say, “only FDR and Abraham Lincoln came into office facing more monumental crises than the next president.”
Other signatories include retired four star general and former Army Vice Chief of Staff Peter Chiarelli and former State Department Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage, who served in the George W. Bush administration.
The list also includes national security officials from Democratic administrations, like former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Rice, a co-chair of National Security Leaders for Biden, said Thursday that Trump has done damage to the US’s global standing and that Biden would bolster America’s national security.
“They know that at a time when our standing globally has plummeted, when President Trump has denigrated the office of the presidency and made the United States a pariah in some respects on the world stage, that we need a change, and we need a decisive change,” Rice said of the national security experts and former officials who signed the letter at a VoteVets.org event.
Retired Rear Adm. Mike Smith, who organized the open letter, said at the event, “It’s time that we restore America’s leadership, and that’s what this letter is about.”
“We came together really to send a message that the only option is to vote for Joe Biden in November. He has the leadership, he has integrity, he has the experience, he has the empathy that we need in the White House,” Smith said. He said the letter was targeted toward undecided voters.
View 2020 presidential election polling
In CNN’s Jim Sciutto’s book, “The Madman Theory: Trump Takes on the World,” a former senior official said Selva and other Pentagon officials were dumbfounded that the White House proposed direct military action into Iran when in September 2018 a handful of mortar shells struck near the US Embassy in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone causing no casualties or serious damage.