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Retired general officers urge support for Hillary Clinton, trash Donald Trump

in 2017/Top Headlines by

A retired Air Force brigadier general and a retired Navy rear admiral both expressed strong confidence in Democrat Hillary Clinton and condemnation of Republican Donald Trump as possible presidents Tuesday.

Retired Brig. Gen. John Douglass of Cocoa Beach and retired Rear Adm. Gene Kendall of Fernandina Beach aimed their opinions toward Florida voters Tuesday, in a press call organized by Clinton’s presidential campaign. They were joined by Coast Guard veteran Elena McCullough of Pasco County.

The trio spoke fearfully of Trump’s temperament and lack of experience in military and foreign affairs; of his ideas about working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; and of his motives. They also criticized his handling of veterans’ charities fundraising, accusing him of not making sure veterans’ groups got money he had raised and promised until he came under fire when they weren’t.

“He’s a fraud,” Kendall said. “He’s a danger to national security; I would also add to international security because he’s a loose canon.”

By contrast, the trio praised Clinton’s experience and commitment, sometimes talking about personal experiences they had working with her while they were serving and she was secretary of state, in the U.S. Senate, or in the White House as first lady.

“She has a grasp for national security. She understands the issues,” Douglass said, while adding he is confident she has the background to become president immediately.

The trio also said they preferred Clinton to the other Democrat seeking the presidency, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, based on her experience, but also would prefer Sanders to Trump if it came to that.

Kendall also told of how he was convinced of Clinton’s concerns for troops when she was in the U.S. Senate, and he was in the Pentagon, responsible for giving basic military briefings to lawmakers who sought them. She called often, he said, and was always most interested in hearing about how troops, airmen and sailors were doing.

“Invariably, she talked about the status of conditions at the time that the Armed Forces found themselves in, and what was happening to their families,” he said. “I came away from that understanding … she was concerned. That’s the principal thing that a commander in chief must be concerned about: the status, the conditions, the welfare of the men and women they command.”

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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