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Former George W. Bush Advisor Among Foreign Policy Experts Who Say Never Trump

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Donald Trump may have had the most chaotic week of his campaign - a verbal brawl with a Gold Star family, snapping at the mother of a crying baby, withholding his endorsement of prominent Republicans for a few days. A number of people in his own party said they can't ever vote for Donald Trump.

Kori Schake says she'll even vote for Hillary Clinton. Ms. Schake worked on the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. She advised John McCain during his run for president. She's now a research fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Thanks very much for being with us.

KORI SCHAKE: It's a pleasure.

SIMON: Is your vote for Mrs. Clinton an endorsement of her policies?

SCHAKE: It's an endorsement of her national security policies (laughter), not of her economic or social policies. But I think for people like me, Donald Trump is such a potential danger to the country. In fact, I think he's already doing damage to the country that I feel an obligation to vote for him.

SIMON: Well, let me ask - because in the opinion of the director of the FBI, Hillary Clinton was reckless in her handling of email while secretary of state - reckless is his word - and she has been, in the opinion of many, disingenuous in explaining that, even this week. So why do you trust her on national security issues?

SCHAKE: So I agree with both of those judgments, that she was reckless. In fact, I think what she did was illegal. And it's disgraceful that she's avoiding responsibility for those choices. But I, nonetheless, believe she would be a much safer pair of hands in which to entrust the country than Donald Trump.

SIMON: A safer pair of hands, you mean - if I may - near the nuclear button, which, by the way, we're told doesn't actually exist, but, you know, that's a living metaphor for many people.

SCHAKE: Yes, I think as secretary of state she was calm and responsible and deliberative. Her support for the surge in Afghanistan was important to the president making a better choice than I think he otherwise have (inaudible).

SIMON: By the way, it sounds like your phone might be giving out, but let's press ahead with this. Your party had primary after primary. Donald Trump won an overwhelming number of votes and the nomination. Is it just sour grapes not to endorse him?

SCHAKE: No, it's not sour grapes. I've voted for a lot of Republicans who I hadn't supported in primaries. I think Donald Trump is different and dangerous than other candidates. I think the kinds of comments he's made about America's allies and about America's role in the world make me cross the line for the first time.

SIMON: We should note, your sister's a Democrat. She's - I believe - deputy communications director for Mrs. Clinton.

SCHAKE: That's right. She and I will be voting for the same candidate for the first time.

SIMON: And is this (laughter) - is this the first? I mean, I guess this might make Thanksgiving a little happier for the two of you.

SCHAKE: (Laughter) No, Thanksgiving's always happy for us.

SIMON: Aw. We mentioned that you worked for President George W. Bush, who advised John McCain. In your circle of friends, people there at the Hoover Institution - without violating any any confidences - your friends and colleagues - is your opinion widely held or are people who ordinarily would support the Republican candidate talking about voting for Hillary Clinton?

SCHAKE: I think this is a real time of crisis for Republicans. It's hard for many of my friends to think about supporting Donald Trump. And it's very hard for many of my friends to think about supporting Hillary Clinton. In fact, I would have indulged the luxury of writing in one of my terrific nephews for president if I hadn't seen that the polls during the British referendum were off by 12 points. And my concern that (inaudible) be accurate, and everybody's vote's actually going to count this election.

SIMON: Kori Schake is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. She joined us by Skype. Thanks very much.

SCHAKE: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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