Former Vice President Joe Biden received unprecedented support from the national security community this week when at least 80 experts who worked in government from the Carter administration to the Obama administration signed an open letter endorsing him over President Donald Trump.

By tradition, national security experts usually do not openly endorse candidates. But this presidential election is different because our country faces the prospect of four more years of Trump, which threatens to topple what’s left of our national security apparatus in a world that he has made increasingly less safe.

And so, dozens of them signed an open letter endorsing Biden, who has spent decades proving his devotion to our national security and has the experience to rebuild what Trump has damaged.

“The undersigned have served in various capacities in the U.S. National Security and Homeland Security Communities,” the open letter began. “As Intelligence Officers, defense policymakers, diplomats, and Congressional staffers, we have served the country during Democratic and Republican administrations. Some of us are lifelong Democrats; others, Republicans; some resolutely independent.”

Indeed, the signatories worked in the administrations of former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Some are Democrats and some are Republicans and Independents. But they all agree that Trump is unfit to remain in office.

“We write to endorse Vice President Joe Biden for President of the United States,” they continued. “Our nation’s foreign affairs are in disarray; our alliances frayed, and our national prestige declining. Our approach to both friends and enemies abroad has been chaotic and unprincipled. Our credibility as a nation has been lessened. And, perhaps most importantly, our place in the world as a source of moral leadership has nearly been lost. As a country, we are increasingly less secure and less safe.”

The national security experts agreed that ousting Trump is more important than their various policy differences and they still intend to voice opposition to policies Biden may or may not employ if he wins in November. But for now, they are united for the sake of our democracy and our reputation in the world.

[T]he course of events since the 2016 Presidential election has been deeply troubling. It is not just policy differences. President Trump, and his approach to leadership at home and abroad, has created an existential danger to the United States, its place in the world, and the values we share. His reelection would continue this downward spiral, and will likely have catastrophic results. Democracy itself is at stake.

We believe that Joe Biden has the best chance, of all the Democratic candidates, to ensure that Donald Trump does not continue as President for four more years, and for that reason alone would endorse him. But we also believe that, of the candidates, he is best suited to reverse the course of American national security decline. We endorse him because we believe our Country is in grave danger, and Vice President Biden represents the best chance of surviving that danger, reversing course, and rebuilding a strong, safe and democratic America that is a global leader.

We are not, of course, giving up our views and approaches to national security; should Vice President Biden be elected President, many of us will take up the honorable position of “loyal opposition,” and will fight as we have before for the policies we think best. But now, and today, it is necessary to put aside our differences, and our party affiliations, and voice our support for Vice President Biden.

Biden just secured a major endorsement that should put Trump on notice. It should also make Americans pay attention. National security experts don’t usually endorse candidates, but the circumstances are dire enough that they are breaking tradition. If Republican and Democratic national security experts can come together to support Biden against Trump, Americans across the political spectrum should be able to do the same.

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