LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – More than 100 former Republican national security officials demanded on Monday that party leaders denounce President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the presidential election, calling it a dangerous and anti-democratic assault on U.S. institutions.
Comprising some of the most senior national security officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Trump, the group decried the failure of most congressional Republicans to condemn Trump’s unwillingness to acknowledge Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Nov. 3 election.
The group – Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden – which formed in August and whose members campaigned against Trump, was particularly critical of Republican congressional leaders in a published letter.
Most Republicans have remained largely silent while Trump disputes the election results with unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud and his legal team pursues increasingly desperate and unsuccessful attempts to overturn Biden’s victory.
“By encouraging President Trump’s delaying tactics or remaining silent, Republican leaders put American democracy and national security at risk,” the group writes.
Members of the group include retired General Michael Hayden, who served as national security director and head of the CIA; William Webster, the only man to serve as both head of the CIA and FBI; and John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence.
Biden won the election with 306 Electoral College votes – well over the 270 needed for victory – to Trump’s 232. Biden also leads Trump by over 6 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.”
(Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Peter Cooney)