Joseph R. Biden Jr. has piled up endorsements from officials who would likely have backed almost any Republican not named Donald Trump, but one name leaps from the lengthy list of 489 national security experts who announced their support for Mr. Biden on Thursday: Gen. Paul J. Selva.
General Selva, a retired four-star Air Force general with 40 years in uniform, served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Obama and Trump from 2015 until his retirement in July 2019.
In that capacity, he was the second-highest ranked officer in the country, putting him at the center of major military decisions made on the president’s watch, and in frequent proximity to Mr. Trump.
“The current president has demonstrated he is not equal to the enormous responsibilities of his office; he cannot rise to meet challenges large or small,” read the “Open Letter to America” signed by several platoons-worth of experts, ex-generals and former top administration officials, some of whom served under Republican presidents.
“Thanks to his disdainful attitude and his failures, our allies no longer trust or respect us, and our enemies no longer fear us,” they wrote, citing what they said was Mr. Trump’s failure to confront aggression by North Korea and Russia. “Only F.D.R. and Abraham Lincoln came into office facing more monumental crises than the next president.”
General Selva, a decorated pilot who served in the Gulf War, joins a host of other former top Trump military and national security advisers — from the former National Security Adviser John Bolton to many lesser-known Pentagon officials — who have questioned Mr. Trump’s capacity to serve as commander in chief.
At least two other former military leaders on the list also served under Mr. Trump: Adm. Paul Zukunft of the Coast Guard, who retired in 2018, and Vice Adm. P. Gardner Howe III, a retired Navy SEAL commander.
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