Trump Announces 88 Top Former Military Officials Backing Him. Romney Had 500.

A YUGE drop!

Ross D. Franklin/AP

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Remember the Democratic convention, when Hillary Clinton was ringingly endorsed by a squad of top former military officials, led by retired General John Allen, who delivered one of the more rousing speeches of the week? That event and a host of subsequent endorsements from former military leaders and foreign policy experts have made it seem that Clinton has the edge over Donald Trump in drawing national security professionals to her cause. (Last month, a group of 50 GOP national security wonks signed a letter declaring that Trump “would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”) Now Trump is fighting back. On Monday, he released a list of 88 former generals and admirals who back his presidential bid.

The New York Times notes that a handful of these Trumpers are “known for making controversial statements. The paper cites retired Lt. General William Boykin, “who was criticized by President George W. Bush for describing the battle against Islamist terrorists as a religious proxy fight between a ‘Christian nation’ and the ‘idol’ of Islam.” It also points out that retired Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney, a Fox News analyst who is on the list, “has previously submitted court documents challenging President Obama’s eligibility to serve as president, accusing him of not having been born in the United States, an accusation Mr. Trump himself once raised.” (Once raised? How about championed like a conspiracy-theory wingnut?)

It’s no surprise that a Republican candidate who has bashed the Iran nuclear deal and called for spending more money on the military could round up this band of former generals and admirals. But here’s the real story: Mitt Romney, during the 2012 campaign, had 500 retired generals and admirals on his side. That group took out an ad in the Washington Times to show their support for the then-Republican nominee. And the Romney crew had much more star power than Trump’s posse. As the Washington Times then reported, “The [Romney] list contains a number of prominent four-star admirals and generals, including five former members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

So as Trump preps—or doesn’t prep—for a candidates forum on national security hosted by NBC and MSNBC on Wednesday night, the news really isn’t that he found four score and eight retired military officers to back him; it’s that this is a significant drop from the amount of support that the last GOP nominee attracted from retired military bigwigs. In fact, it’s a huge retreat.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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