Former Republican officials call Trump refusal ‘serious threat’

More than 100 former Republican national security officials want Trump to ‘cease’ his ‘assault’ on the integrity of the election.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, left, and the first Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte are among the Republicans who signed the statement [File: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo]

More than 100 former Republican national security officials demanded on Monday that party leaders denounce President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept his election loss, calling it “an anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election”.

“President Trump’s continued efforts to cast doubt on the validity of the election and to interfere in state electoral processes undermine our democracy and risk long-term damage to our institutions,” the group says in a written statement.

The group – Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden – comprises some of the most senior national security officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, George W Bush and Trump.

Signatories to the statement include former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, retired General Michael Hayden, who served as head of the CIA and the NSA; William Webster, the only man to serve as both head of the CIA and FBI; and John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, right, joined Hayden and more than 100 other Republicans in signing the statement [Ted Anthony/AP Photo]

“President Trump’s refusal to permit the presidential transition also poses significant risks to our national security, at a time when the U.S. confronts a global pandemic and faces serious threats from global adversaries, terrorist groups, and other forces,” the group writes in the statement first obtained by the Washington Post.

They also decried the failure of many Republicans to condemn Trump’s unwillingness to acknowledge Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November 3 election and they were particularly critical of Republican congressional leaders.

They are pushing “Republican leaders — especially those in Congress — to publicly demand that President Trump cease his anti-democratic assault on the integrity of the presidential election.”

Most Republican leaders have remained largely silent while Trump has disputed the election results with unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud and his legal team has pursued increasingly desperate and unsuccessful attempts to overturn Biden’s victory.

The letter concludes, “By encouraging President Trump’s delaying tactics or remaining silent, Republican leaders put American democracy and national security at risk.”

Biden is projected to win a total of 306 Electoral College votes – well more than the 270 needed for victory – to Trump’s 232. Biden also leads Trump by more than six million in the popular vote.

The Trump campaign has described Republican-led groups that backed Biden as disaffected former officials “trying to take down the duly elected president of the United States”. Trump on Twitter referred last year to “Never Trump Republicans” as “human scum”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies