Hillary Clinton has a "sound approach to the world," while Donald Trump "seems to embrace our adversaries and is disdainful of our friends," former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday.
"I'm not a political pundit," Chertoff, who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and now is executive director of The Chertoff Group, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, explaining why he has backed Clinton's candidacy for the White House.
"I don't know how arguments translate into leads or how accurate polling is. What I do know, is that for people who really care about security, we're at a time when there's a lot of risk out there."
The risks don't come only from terrorism, but from "a very aggressive Russia" and a "more aggressive China," and a president needs the ability to make "steady, good judgments," said Chertoff, and when people vote, they will reflect on the candidates' temperament and what they have said about adversaries of the United States.
Trump has come under fire for his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a better leader than President Obama, and Chertoff said he is first worried about the GOP nominee's temperament.
"You can surround yourself with advisors, but in the end, the president makes the decision," said Chertoff. "Take this incident at 3 in the morning after the debate, the first debate with Secretary Clinton, why would you waste time pursuing an issue involving whether someone, Miss Universe [Alicia Machado] gained too much weight, when there are other more important things to be talking about or tweeting about?"
Chertoff said Trump's suggestion that Putin is "somewhat admirable" because he praises him "reverses the kind of message we ought to be sending to our friends."
The former secretary noted that he spends a great deal of time overseas with senior officials in countries that are the United States' allies, and they are "worried about Donald Trump and whether he will be a reliable ally. That's something we cannot afford to have given the current state of the world."
Meanwhile, Chertoff said he also believes there will be a significant difference between how a President Clinton and President Barack Obama handles the situation in Syria.
"I think that Secretary Clinton advocated for a no-fly zone, [but] President Obama did not accept that advice," said Chertoff. "I think that was a big mistake and led to the crisis we see in Europe now and horrible war crimes being committed by Syrians and Russians in Aleppo.
"Having talked to her and having observed her, I think she would be, frankly, much tougher than President Obama on these issues."
The failures over the past years have meant the loss of time and lives, and brought about the refugee crisis in Europe, Chertoff continues, and he believes Clinton's vision of being tougher with ISIS and Russia "is a dose of what we need right now."
He also disagrees with Trump's opinion that America is less safe now than it has ever been, since Obama became president.
"We're a lot safer than we were on Sept. 11," said Chertoff. "We continue to have a good structure in place to protect us from people coming in to carry out terrorist attacks.
"There's no doubt that the situation has deteriorated in the last couple of years with the rise of ISIS, the increase of foreign fighters and we see that particularly in Europe, but we've seen some of the inspired attacks here in the United States."
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