Former G.W. Bush Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
By April Hamlin / 10.04.2016
In a surprising twist, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff announced that he will be throwing his support behind Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump.
Chertoff’s endorsement isn’t shocking just because of his work with President George W. Bush’s administration or because he is a prominent Republican. Indeed, in this respect, he simply joins an ever-growing list of influential conservatives and ex-Bush officials who have decided that they simply cannot support the GOP’s orange-hued nominee.
Chertoff’s support comes as such a surprise because he was one of the prosecutors during the congressional investigation into the Whitewater controversy, which involved the Clintons and their real estate investments.
Chertoff, who served as the lead GOP counsel on the Senate Whitewater Committee, told Bloomberg that threats of terrorism override all the “insignificant” issues that were so prominent in the 90s. And with these threats in mind, Hillary Clinton is clearly the better option for the presidency.
“I realized we spent a huge amount of time in the ’90s on issues that were much less important than what was brewing in terms of terrorism.”
“[Clinton] has good judgment and a strategic vision of how to deal with the threats that face us,” he said.
“People can go back decades and perhaps criticize some of the judgments that were made. That is very, very insignificant compared to the fundamental issue of how to protect the country.”
The breaking point for Chertoff was last week’s presidential debate. “Trump’s sense of loyalties are misplaced,” he said. Chertoff said he will be backing Clinton and cited various comments Trump has made about foreign policy as his primary reason.
“Some of our NATO allies sent troops overseas. At the same time, he is defending Russia and trying to dismiss what was widely acknowledged to be Russian intrusions into the databases of our political parties and political figures,” Chertoff explained.
According to the long-time Republican, Trump’s comments about Russia during the debate were the equivalent of “making enemies of your friends and cozying up to your adversaries.”
Trump’s fat-shaming of a former Miss Universe didn’t sit well with Chertoff either.
“This issue came up at the debate about Miss Universe,” he said, referring to Alicia Machado, a Clinton supporter.
“Not only did he seem at the debate to lose his temper, but to get up at 3:30 a.m. and reach for your smartphone is to me a hysterical reaction,” Chertoff said of Trump’s late-night Twitter tantrum. “If you’re president, the button you reach for is not the Twitter button; it’s the nuclear button.”
The Whitewater controversy started as an investigation into real estate investments the Clintons had made in Arkansas when Bill was governor of the state. They had invested in the Whitewater Development Corporation and lost money on the venture.