If you had told us in 2019 that a mob of Americans would be inspired by a president of the United States to ransack the U.S. Capitol, assault police officers and intimidate sitting members of Congress with threats of violence, we would have never believed you. If you told us that the same president was cheering on the mob while refusing the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in American history, we would have thought you were describing the plot of a dystopian novel.
Now, the possibility of placing former President Donald Trump back into the highest office in our nation is all too real. We have seen this story play out before, and we did not like the ending. The sequel promises to be even more disastrous for our country.
Trump is still falsely claiming that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Republican Party leaders who have not fallen in line, like Liz Cheney, are ousted from their positions, demeaned and stripped of their power. Many GOP leaders are too afraid of their base to call out the dangerous lies that led to the insurrection, putting their own political ambitions above their oath to the Constitution.
Trump has shown he is willing to weaponize the U.S. government to protect himself and his cronies and punish his personal enemies. If we reward his efforts with four more years of power, make no mistake, he will do it all again.
During his last term in office, America faced a handful of Constitutional crises that were prevented by a few brave individuals who put their oaths to the Constitution above their fealty to Donald Trump. When he suggested using the Department of Homeland Security to seize voting machines, or deploying the military to do battle against American citizens protesting in the streets, there were political appointees and military officers who remained loyal to their oaths, and helped protect our country from its own president.
In a second term, Donald Trump will undoubtedly appoint leaders who will do his bidding, even if that means violating the rule of law, our democratic norms and the Constitution. The handful of Constitutional crises we faced during his first term may well number in the thousands the next time around, as safeguards are removed and the most important qualification for political appointments becomes personal loyalty to the president.
Trump has had an unprecedented negative influence on national security, and we are not safe with him at the helm of our ship. He has disparaged our global partners and allies, especially those in NATO. We believe he would attempt to pull us out of NATO, the greatest and most effective alliance in world history.
He has failed to address foreign intervention in our elections, and instead politicized the Justice Department and the military. He has inappropriately used troops and senior officers in political events. He has even gone so far as to call for the execution of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is a clear indication of how he sees himself in relation to the U.S. military, as an autocrat commanding his personal armed forces, which goes against everything our Constitution stands for.
Donald Trump is modeling himself after his favorite dictators—Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and the leaders of Hezbollah.
Trump has formed a pro-Putin caucus in Congress advocating for the U.S. to stop sending vital aid and weapons to Ukraine, essentially giving up and letting Putin take over a sovereign democratic state in Europe for the first time since World War II. He even held up military aid to Ukraine, against the security interests of Europe, for dirt on his political opponent.
That is not to mention his reckless—and potentially intentional—mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. We do not yet know the full scope of this national security threat, but the potential for top secret information to have been shared with foreign persons is high. To us and reasonable people around the globe, the ongoing federal criminal investigation against him for espionage alone disqualifies him from being fit to hold the office of United States president.
We do not write these words lightly. A second Trump presidency is the most existential national security threat to our democracy in our lifetime. Our democracy, which has been vibrant for over 200 years, would be irreparably diminished in a world with Trump as our nation’s highest leader. The global world order that the Greatest Generation fought and died for, then handed to us to sustain, will be severely damaged. Their sacrifices will be squandered if we aren’t there to defend it. As patriotic Americans, we must do so now, before it’s too late.
Amy McGrath is a former fighter pilot and U.S Marine Corps combat veteran, a co-founder of Operation Saving Democracy, a former candidate for the U.S. House and Senate and the author of “Honor Bound: An American Story of Dreams and Service.” Follow her on Twitter @AmyMcGrathKY. Ken Harbaugh is a former U.S. Navy pilot and mission commander, and host of the Burn The Boats podcast. He co-produced the upcoming documentary film “Against All Enemies”, about the domestic violent extremist movement, and serves on the board of several veteran non-profits, including Veterans for Responsible Leadership.
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