US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would put in danger the United States’ security, warn 50 top Republican national security officials.
The officials issued their warning Monday in a letter which was signed by aides and Cabinet members of past GOP administrations including George W. Bush's and Richard Nixon's.
“Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be president,” the letter reads, adding he “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”
The letter also declared that, “None of us will vote for Donald Trump,” according to the New York Times.
Among the officials are Michael Hayden, former director of both the CIA and National Security Agency; Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Security for Bush and President Obama; John Negroponte, former director of national intelligence under Bush; Tom Ridge, former homeland security director under Bush in addition to former governor of the battleground state of Pennsylvania; as well as others who have worked as trade representatives, national security advisers and ambassadors.
The officials said the GOP nominee “appears to lack basic knowledge about the belief in the US Constitution, US laws, and US institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.”
Some other top Republicans have also declared they will not vote for the business mogul, but instead will support his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
On Monday, Lezlee Westine, an aide to former president Bush, said she will support Clinton.
Westine, who worked as the White House director of the office of public liaison and as a deputy assistant to Bush, said she will support Clinton.
“Our nation faces a unique set of challenges that require steady and experienced leadership," Westine said. "That is why today I am personally supporting Hillary Clinton. She has the expertise and commitment to American values to grow the economy, create jobs and protect America at home and abroad."
Meanwhile, Trump on Monday announced his new economic plan as part of which he said he would slash taxes, block onerous financial regulations and unleash the energy sector.
"We are in a competition with the world, and I want America to win," Trump told the Detroit Economic Club. "I want to jump-start America. It can be done, and it won't even be that hard."
Trump’s campaign has been marked by a lot of controversies including his remarks against Muslims and immigrants to the US.
This is while Clinton's lead over Trump is significantly growing in recent polls in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential race.
Fifty senior US Republican national security officials have written an open letter saying Donald Trump would be "the most reckless president in American history", as his opponents within the party launched a former CIA officer as an alternative candidate.
In a letter to the New York Times the 50 signatories, including people who served in George W. Bush's Cabinet, said Trump lacked the "character, values and experience" needed for the White House and would "put at risk our country's national security and well-being".
They said the the Republican nominee had little understanding of complex diplomacy, democratic values, or the importance of allies, and had shown "no interest in educating himself".
While expressing doubts about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, the signatories said none of them would vote for Trump.
It followed a similar letter released in March, but the wording of the latest condemnation was both broader and stronger, and the list of names longer.They included Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and the National Security Agency, John Negroponte, former director of national intelligence, former Homeland Security secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, and William Taft, former ambassador to Nato.
The alarm among the national security establishment followed Trump's comments about encouraging Russia to hack Clinton's emails, and his refusal to embrace the principles of Nato.
Trump responded with a statement deriding the signatories as members of "the failed Washington elite" who "deserve the blame for making the world such a dangerous place".
"These insiders - along with Hillary Clinton - are the owners of the disastrous decisions to invade Iraq, allow Americans to die in Benghazi, and they are the ones who allowed the rise of Isis," he continued.
It came as Trump faced a new threat from within his own party.
Evan McMullin, 40, a Republican official and former CIA counter-terrorism officer, announced he would run as an independent candidate for president. He could potentially take away a significant number of votes from the billionaire in some states.
McMullin launched his campaign with the slogan "It's never too late to do the right thing".
He has been a member of the "Never Trump" movement within the party and reportedly had the backing of key Republican donors.
McMullin condemned Trump for his authoritarianism and anti-Muslim rhetoric, which he said would make the US "weaker".
He added: "America deserves much better than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton."
McMullin spent 11 years in the CIA but has never held elected office. Since 2013 he worked as a policy director for the Republican Party in Congress.