Retired Rear Adm. Deborah Loewer, a lifelong Republican, explains in Dayton why she endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. Video by Barrie Barber.

Retired general endorses Hillary Clinton during Dayton visit

A Trump supporter counters that Clinton is a ‘threat’ to nation’s security.

Gen. Johnnie E. Wilson, former Army Brig. Gen. Larry Gillespie, and retired Navy Rear Adm. Deborah Loewer endorsed Clinton at a campaign forum Thursday. They told about a dozen veterans and others inside the Clinton campaign’s Dayton headquarters the former first lady, one-time senator and secretary of state had the experience and judgment to lead the nation’s military and deal with veterans issues.

The retired high-ranking military leaders arrived in Dayton as a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday showed Trump leading Clinton, 41 percent to 37 percent in the Buckeye State as the battle for the key swing state races into the final weeks of the campaign.

Wilson took aim at several Trump positions, including the Republican presidential nominee’s proposals this week to add thousands more troops to the Army and Marine Corps, dozens of new ships for the Navy and fighter planes for the Air Force. Trump also said after assuming the presidency he would demand generals present a plan within 30 days to destroy ISIS and developing a missile defense system.

“Those are good talking points, but there’s no reality behind it,” said Wilson, who was raised in Lorain. “And he can’t back that up because he doesn’t control the money, the Congress … controls the money.”

The retired general criticized Trump for comments directed at the Gold Star family of Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan who died in an IED explosion in Iraq in 2004. Wilson also said the Republican presidential nominee had “made light” of the issue of military sexual assault in a broadcast appearance Wednesday.

“I don’t know how he continues to get a pass on some of the things he said because words matter,” the retired general said.

Contacted for a response to Wilson’s comments, a Trump campaign spokesman emailed endorsement statements from two congressmen and a veteran who back the Republican presidential nominee.

“Support for Donald Trump in the military community runs deep and grows every day,” U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, said in a campaign released statement. “Mr. Trump’s plan to defeat radical Islamic terrorism and rebuild America’s military offer a much needed course correction in military policy, while Hillary Clinton represents a status quo third Obama term of weakened national security and substandard care for our veterans,” added Johnson, an Air Force veteran. “Hillary Clinton is a proven liability to our national security, and her documented failures of handling classified materials are enough to disqualify her from serving as Commander in Chief.”

U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R- Troy and a former Army Ranger, and an Army Special Forces veteran made similar remarks in statements released by the campaign.

The group of Clinton supporters at the campaign forum said she is the right choice..

Loewer, a lifelong Republican and former director of the White House Situation Room to President George W. Bush, dismissed criticism over Clinton’s handling of a personal email account on which the former secretary of state sent State Department emails.

The retired rear admiral said the Democratic presidential nominee has “worked tirelessly” on domestic, foreign policy and veterans issues.

“She’s the person who I believe has the discipline, the intelligence and the compassion to lead our nation through any domestic or international challenge that we’ll meet in the years ahead,” the Springfield resident said in an interview.

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