Rivals Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have begun canvassing support from military leaders to bolster their position on national security issues and among the armed forces ahead of the 9/11 anniversary, as they sprint towards the final months of the taxing presidential campaign.
Democratic Clinton’s campaign released a list of 95 retired generals and admirals endorsing her presidential bid to the White House, a day after Republican Trump’s campaign released a list of endorsement from 88 military leaders.
The lists came as the two presidential campaign prepare themselves for a week focussed on national security ahead of the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks.
The rival leaders have, however, not disclosed any plans to visit the Ground Zero to commemorate the anniversary.
Their overreach to rally veteran in their favour also comes ahead of the Commander-in-Chief Forum presented by NBC and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Both the candidates would appear at the forum.
“Clinton is getting the backing of more senior military service members and former officials with command and management experience than any non-incumbent Democrat due to her proven record of diplomacy and steady leadership on the world stage,” the Clinton Campaign said in a statement.
Lloyd “Fig” Newton, a four-star General and the first African-American Thunderbird pilot, said: “Given the challenges we face around the world today, and the rhetoric we are hearing from some at home, I feel I have a moral imperative to come forth and endorse secretary Hillary Clinton for president.”
On Tuesday, 88 retired US generals and admirals, including four four-star and 14 three-star flag officers, signed an open letter endorsing Trump.
The letter was organized by Major General (rtd) Sidney Shachnow and Rear Admiral Charles Williams (rtd).
“It is a great honour to have such amazing support from so many distinguished retired military leaders,” Trump said.
“Under my administration, we will end the weak foreign policy of the last eight years, rebuild our military, give our troops clear rules of engagement and take care of our veterans when they come home,” he said in a statement.
“He (Trump) has the temperament to be commander-in-chief,” Shachnow said.
“Donald Trump is more trusted to be commander-in-chief than Hillary Clinton,” emphasised Williams.
“As retired senior leaders of America’s military, we believe that such a change can only be made by someone who has not been deeply involved with, and substantially responsible for, the hollowing out of our military and the burgeoning threats facing our country around the world. For this reason, we support Donald Trump’s candidacy to be our next Commander-in-Chief,” said the letter endorsing Trump.