After a 90 minute meeting with a bipartisan group of top national security experts in New York City, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton addressed the media briefly for eight minutes, going after her rival GOP nominee Donald Trump, saying the leaders tasked with national security are “chilled” of him becoming president based on his rhetorics and foreign policy proposals.
“National security experts on both sides of the aisle are chilled by what they are hearing from the Republican nominee,” Clinton told reporters at New York Historical Society. “That may be the number one reason why this election is the most important in our lifetime. I am not waiting until November to bring Democrats and Republicans together now because I plan to get right down to work on day one. The stakes are too high and the issues are too serious for anything less than that level of preparedness. Americans should be able to count on their president and commander-in-chief to provide rational, confident and even-keeled leadership especially in tumultuous times like this these.”
The meeting with 16 former national security officials was announced on Thursday in Clinton first ever press conference after 278 days of avoiding the press. Clinton press conference reflected on Wednesday night’s Commander-in-Chief forum, adding the meeting convened would be a discussion regarding “efforts to defeat ISIS and keep our country safe.” The meeting was first mentioned during the forum briefly, where Clinton discussed ways she would as president combat ISIS by working and “meeting with a group of counter terrorism experts.” Clinton didn’t cite this meeting would take place within the next few days, but after facing a barrage of questions regarding her use of a private email server, voting for the 2003 Iraq War, and declaring that no lives were lost in Libya intervention, the timing of the meeting is seen to play off Clinton’s defensive forum performance.
“Last night, I was very glad to be able to begin a conversation with the American people, and offer some of my thoughts about ISIS, Iran, and how we reform the V.A. system to provide better care for our vets,” Clinton said on Thursday. “To focus more on these crucial challenges, tomorrow I’m convening a meeting of bipartisan national security leaders and experts, including former secretaries of homeland security, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano; General John Allen; former acting director of the CIA Michael Morell; and former NATO supreme allied commander James Stavridis, and others.”
According to the Clinton Campaign official, the meeting is a “working session” with national security leaders and experts “to work on concert solutions.” The meeting with elite national security advisers includes many controversial key players with many of those having a very hawkish approach to foreign policy.
“Hillary is convening this working session of bipartisan national security leaders and experts to work on concrete solutions that will deal with the threat of terrorism at home and abroad and keep our people safe,” said Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s senior policy adviser. “Gen. John Allen, former Deputy Commander of the U.S. Central Command, former Secretaries of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano and David Petreaus, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, are among those who will participate in the meeting.”
Among those participants present on Friday meeting included, Morell, Chertoff, former acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers, former Navy Seal Chris Fussell, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Kathleen Hicks, former Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers. Gen. Petraeus, Napolitano, Gen, Allen and Admiral James Stavridis took part of the meeting via videoconference.
Pointing to her four years as Secretary of State as her biggest qualification to be president, Clinton provided few details discussed of strategies to combat ISIS and the recent news headlines of North Korea’s latest nuclear test, the fifth carried out under Kim Jong Un’s regime and the second in eight months.
“ISIS and North Korea’s quest for a nuclear weapon are not entirely unconnected. Because the greatest threat of all would be terrorists getting their hands on loose nuclear material,” Clinton said, adding it was “vital to bring the world together to stop North Korea’s dangerous game.”
On defeating ISIS, Clinton said she “supports deploying more special forces, enablers, and trainers in the Middle East as needed. We have to him them from the air, and intensify support for local Arab and Kurdish partners on the ground.”