A retired Marine Corps general who led NATO forces in Afghanistan endorsed Hillary Clinton on Thursday night, saying his decision was based on her judgment and record as America’s top diplomat.
John Allen worked closely with Clinton during President Barack Obama’s first term when the general was commanding U.S. and NATO military forces in Afghanistan and she was secretary of state. In Philadelphia, he took the stage flanked by veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and warned against “the forces of chaos and darkness.”
“With Hilary Clinton as our commander in chief, the United States will continue to be that indispensable power,” Allen said. He told U.S. allies if she’s elected, they will not be abandoned, and warned America’s foes would be relentlessly pursued.
He said they “could not … stand on the sidelines,” adding the election is a choice between hope and fear. Voters “must choose hope,” he said in the cadence of a former Marine officer.
“I am joined by my fellow generals and admirals, and with these magnificent young veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan,” Allen said at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. “They went there and risked their lives because they love this country.
“From the battlefield to the capitals of our allies, friends and partners, the free peoples of the world look to America as the last best hope for peace and for liberty for all humanity,” he said. “We are the greatest country on this planet.”
As he spoke, the crowd chanted, “U-S-A, U-S-A!” and waved red and blue signs with white block letters spelling the same. A few delegates chanted “No more war!”
Allen’s message aligned with many Democratic convention speakers, including Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., on Wednesday night. And it stands in contrast to those who addressed the Republican National Convention last week, including GOP nominee Donald Trump, who described the world as at its most dangerous point in decades and the United States as a lawless space.
Allen said he and his fellow military leaders “stand before you tonight to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States of America.”
“We trust her judgment. We believe in her vision for a united America,” the retired four-star general said. “With her as our Commander in Chief, America will continue to lead in this volatile world.”
Clinton and her party used their confab to portray themselves as just as tough on America’s foes as Republicans, who traditionally have been viewed as the party of national security. But with Trump calling for America to turn inward and have a smaller military presence around the globe, Democrats are eager to change that perception.
Allen said Clinton would give the military the “finest” and “greatest” weapons, adding veterans “will be cared for in the manner they deserve.” He talked about decreasing nuclear weapons around the globe, and took a swipe at Trump saying relations with other countries “would not be reduced to a business transaction.”
Earlier in the day, Allen told CNN he is politically unaffiliated. He said he is supporting Clinton “because I’ve known her.” During his time in Afghanistan, Allen said she was of “high value to me” in “setting the diplomatic conditions” there.
He also suggested Trump’s repeated off-the-cuff comments about Russia could allow Moscow to detect “vulnerabilities” that it could exploit to America’s detriment.