It might not be intentional, but there appears to be an arms race between the campaigns of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to see who can gather more endorsements from military officials.
This week, both campaigns have released several statements about endorsements from US generals and admirals.
The first, from Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, came on Tuesday. The title of the news release was, “88 RETIRED U.S. GENERALS AND ADMIRALS ENDORSE TRUMP.” (The media was quick to point out that many names on the list weren’t immediately recognisable.)
Trump’s release was followed the next day by a release from the campaign of the Democratic nominee. The title of that release: “95 Retired Generals and Admirals Endorse Hillary Clinton.”
“Clinton is getting the backing of more senior military service members and former officials with command and management experience than any non-incumbent Democrat,” the release noted.
The Clinton campaign’s statement also slammed Trump for not getting as many military endorsements as Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee for president in 2012.
Then, on Friday, the Clinton campaign rolled out more endorsements, with a news release titled, “Number of Generals and Admirals Backing Clinton Grows to 110 After Forum.”
The statement, which tied the endorsements to a “commander-in-chief” forum with Trump and Clinton that aired on NBC on Wednesday, again noted Trump’s lack of endorsements compared to Romney.
This was followed by a release from the Trump campaign hours later: “32 NEW MILITARY LEADERS ENDORSE DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT.” This brought Trump’s total number of military endorsements to 120.
“These names were added following Wednesday’s Commander-In-Chief Forum, showing Mr. Trump has the respect and trust from a number of military leaders across all branches of service,” the campaign said in its statement.
So for now, Trump is winning the arms race with 120 endorsements compared to Clinton’s 110.
A Clinton campaign official told Business Insider that the campaign has been doing outreach to military leaders for months and had planned to release a list on the same day as NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum. After the forum, the official said, more generals and admirals came forward to offer their endorsements.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
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