Bush’s homeland security chief endorses Clinton
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Bush’s homeland security chief endorses Clinton

Accusing Trump of ‘misplaced loyalties,’ Michael Chertoff says Democratic nominee has ‘good judgment and strategic vision’

Michael Chertoff (screen capture: YouTube)
Michael Chertoff (screen capture: YouTube)

WASHINGTON — Michael Chertoff, a homeland security secretary under President George W. Bush, has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.

The endorsement, revealed in an interview Monday with Bloomberg News, is notable because while other Republicans, including many who have not been in government for decades, have endorsed Clinton, Chertoff was a senior Cabinet member in Bush’s second term and is known for his tough posture on terrorism.

Clinton “has good judgment and a strategic vision [about] how to deal with the threats that face us,” Chertoff said.

Donald Trump, Chertoff said, has “misplaced” loyalties. He accuses the Republican nominee of “making enemies of your friends and cozying up to your adversaries,” citing Trump’s proposal to distance the United States from NATO and his open admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton participating in a town hall forum at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, January 25, 2016. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/JTA)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton participating in a town hall forum at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, January 25, 2016. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/JTA)

Chertoff, the son of a rabbi, was a lead investigator in the so-called Whitewater investigations of Hillary Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, in the 1990s, so named because the probe began by focusing on real estate investments by the Whitewater Development Corporation.

Clinton was subsequently the only one in the Senate to vote against Chertoff when he was nominated to head the Justice Department’s criminal division in 2001. She was also the only one to oppose his nomination in 2003 to the US Court of Appeals for the third circuit.

“People can go back decades and perhaps criticize some of the judgments that were made,” Chertoff said, referring to 1990s antagonisms between the Clintons and congressional Republicans. “That is very, very insignificant compared to the fundamental issue of how to protect the country.”

A number of Republicans and figures associated with the Republican Party have thrown their weight against Trump over recent months.

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg takes the stage during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg takes the stage during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

In July, Michael Bloomberg, who was elected mayor of New York City on a Republican ticket, announced that he was backing Clinton.

“Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies and thousands of lawsuits and angry shareholders and contractors who feel cheated and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off,” said Bloomberg, now an independent. “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s running his business? God help us.”

In September, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the former Democrat lieutenant governor for Maryland, posted a photograph of herself shaking hands with the 92-year-old former Republican president George H.W. Bush, with the caption “The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!”

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend poses with president George Bush in a photograph posted on Facebook. (Kathleen Hartington/Facebook)
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend poses with president George Bush in a photograph posted on Facebook. (Kathleen Hartington/Facebook)

Several prominent Republicans from the administrations of Bush and his son George W. Bush, president from 2001 to 2009, also plan to back Clinton, among them national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and former commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez.

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