WASHINGTON—The U.S. armed forces will have no role in carrying out the election process or resolving a disputed vote, the top U.S. military officer has told Congress.
The comments from Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, underscore the extraordinary political environment in America. Milleys comments were released Friday.
“I believe deeply in the principle of an apolitical U.S. military,” Milley said in written responses to several questions posed by two Democratic members of the House Armed Services Committee. “In the event of a dispute over some aspect of the elections, by law U.S. courts and the U.S. Congress are required to resolve any disputes, not the U.S. military. I foresee no role for the U.S armed forces in this process.”
Milleys tone reflects the longstanding views of military leaders who insist that the nations military stays out of politics and that troops are sworn to protect the country and uphold the Constitution.
The two Democratic Congress members, Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, said Friday that Trumps recent comments and his efforts to use the military to quell protests have fueled their concerns. The two lawmakers released Milleys answers.
“These are just prudent questions to be asking given the things that the president has been saying publicly,” said Slotkin, pointing to Trumps use of the military to clear protesters from Lafayette Square and his suggestions that he may put law enforcement at the polls to make sure voting is conducted professionally. Milleys answers, she said, “demonstrated that the chairman recognized the militarys role in our elections is to essentially stay out; that the militarys role in the peaceful transition of power is to stay out.”
Trump said last month it was too early to guarantee hed accept the election results.
“I have to see. Look … I have to see,” Trump said on ”Fox News Sunday.” “No, Im not going to just say yes. Im not going to say no.” The Biden campaign at the time responded that “the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”
Trump later suggested that the election should be postponed, since the coronavirus pandemic has made it likely it could take days or weeks to count mail-in ballots. But that idea was immediately refused since the election date can only be changed by Congress.
Milley has been asked if the military would refuse an order from the president if he was attempting to use military action fRead More From Source