National security is the theme of Election 2016 this week, with an NBC-MSNBC forum on that topic Wednesday night and lots of apparent new support on that front for Donald Trump. The New York Times reports that 88 retired military figures—described by retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn as a group of "national security professionals"—have placed their John Hancocks on an open letter set to be released Tuesday and endorsing the GOP nominee. "The 2016 election affords the American people an urgently needed opportunity to make a long-overdue course correction in our national security posture and policy," which can only be done by someone who hasn't been complicit in the "hollowing out of our military," notes the letter, which was coordinated by Holocaust survivor and Army veteran Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow and the Navy's Rear Adm. Charles Williams.
The letter seems to be Trump's way to "blunt the edge," as the Times puts it, of possible support for Hillary Clinton from foreign policy aces who have already rejected him. The signatories, who seem to support Trump's past and present stances on a variety of issues, include everyone from a retired Air Force lieutenant general who happens to be an Obama birther to an ex-Army official known for making inflammatory remarks about Islam. "We support Donald Trump and his commitment to rebuild our military, to secure our borders, to defeat our Islamic supremacist adversaries, and restore law and order domestically," the letter says. "We urge our fellow Americans to do the same." In a campaign statement, Trump called the endorsements a "great honor," per Politico. (Trump's foreign policy speech in August did not get rave reviews.)