10 former protection ministers warn in opposition to involving the US navy in election disputes
Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on September 24, 2017.
Bill Clark | CQ appeal group | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – As President Donald Trump attempts to fuel allegations of a stolen election in the final days of his administration, the nation’s ten living defense ministers warned on Sunday that the U.S. military should play no role in determining the outcome of a U.S. election .
“Each of us has sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies at home and abroad. We have not sworn it to either individual or party,” wrote Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, James Mattis, Ash Carter, Chuck Hagel and Leon Panetta, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Robert Gates, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld in a comment published in the Washington Post on Sunday.
“Efforts to involve the US armed forces in electoral dispute resolution would lead us into dangerous, illegal and unconstitutional territory,” the former defense ministers wrote.
“Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such activities would be responsible for the grave consequences of their actions for our republic, including potential criminal sanctions,” they added.
Former defense ministers, who have jointly overseen the American armed forces for nearly 50 years, argued that “the time to question the results” of the US presidential election was over.
“Our elections took place. Recounts and audits have been carried out. The courts have addressed challenges. The governors have confirmed the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has expired; the time for the formal census of the.” Votes from the electoral college, as required by the constitution and statute, have arrived, “wrote former defense ministers, including two who served under Trump.
United States President Donald Trump speaks while Secretary of Defense James Mattis (L) looks on during a meeting with senior military leaders in the White House Cabinet Room on October 5, 2017.
Almond Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
The secretaries urged Trump’s incumbent Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, as well as policy officials and officials, “not to take any political action that undermines election results or hinders the success of the new team.”
“We urge them to do what so many generations of Americans have done before them. This final action is in keeping with the highest traditions and professionalism of the US armed forces and the history of democratic transition in our country great country, “they wrote.
Trump did not allow Democrat Joe Biden to vote, despite a series of failed legal challenges, which will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. Instead, Trump has touted false claims of rigged election and urged members his own party to engage in plans to reverse Biden’s victory and to fight back if they speak out against his plans.
Over the weekend, Trump’s ambitions were exposed in an extraordinarily leaked phone call with Georgia’s Republican Foreign Minister.
Speaking to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the president said he wanted to “find 11,780 votes” that would undo Biden’s victory in Georgia, according to audio data received from NBC News.
Raffensperger resisted pressure from Trump to change Georgia’s election results, even as the president made veiled threats of possible criminal prosecution if denied.
At least 12 Republican senators have asked Congress to postpone confirmation of Biden’s victory during a joint session on Wednesday. Vice President Mike Pence, who will chair the session, has welcomed the Senators’ ploy, which has no chance of success because Democrats control the House and several Republicans are against the move.
Republican Sens. Mitt Romney from Utah, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, among others, have spoken out strongly against attempts to reverse Biden’s victory.
Pro-Trump protests are due to take place in the country’s capital on Wednesday when Congress convenes to certify Biden as new president and Kamala Harris as vice president. Trump said he would take part in the protests.