It’s "now or never" for ex-Trump aides weighing speaking out

With just weeks left before the Nov. 3 election, now is the moment of truth for current and former Trump administration officials debating whether they, too, should step forward and join the chorus of Republican voices trying to persuade on-the-fence voters to help deny Trump a second term…

But Mattis and Coats, like former White House chief of staff John Kelly and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, have refrained from more explicit condemnations, often citing a “duty of silence” or a long tradition of military officials staying out of politics, according to people who’ve spoken with them.

Efforts to draw them out are ongoing. While former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen appears disinclined to step forward, there are hopes that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson might be persuaded to comment and that Coats might be urged to say more. And Kelly, a retired four-star general, is said to be on the fence and torn about the decision.

“I think that he loves his country and he wants to do what’s best for the country,” said Neumann, who served as Kelly’s deputy chief of staff at DHS and is hopeful he’ll speak out, even as others don’t think it will happen.