Ten former US defense ministers have warned Donald Trump against holding on to allegations of fraud in the presidential election. In an opinion article published in the Washington Post, the former ministers wrote that it was over to questioning the results of the election.
All ex-defense ministers who were still alive took part in the article: Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, Leon Panetta, William Perry, Donald Rumsfeld – as well as James Mattis and Mark Esper, who each headed the Pentagon under Trump . In addition to calling on Republicans to accept the election result, they also wrote that the US military should not play a role in the outcome of the election.
The reason for the article appears to be that some Republicans plan to challenge the certification of the electoral vote on Wednesday. Trump still does not recognize the result of the election, although several attempts to challenge results from individual states have failed. Most recently, the Washington Post published an audio recording on Sunday in which Trump put the Georgia election officer, Brad Raffensperger, under pressure in a phone call.
Concerns about the role of the military
Due to Trump’s behavior, concerns have recently increased that the US president could use the military to keep him in office after January 20. Then President-elect Joe Biden moves into the White House.
“Involving the US armed forces in the resolution of electoral disputes would lead us into dangerous, illegal and unconstitutional territory,” said the opinion article by the former defense ministers. They also warned potential accomplices of such a coup attempt. “Public officials who order or carry out such measures would be held accountable for the grave consequences of their actions.”
US Chief of Staff Mark Milley had already emphasized the armed forces’ neutral position in August. “I deeply believe in the principle of an apolitical US military,” Milley wrote in a written response to questions from two Democratic members of the House Army Committee. “In the event of a dispute over any aspect of the election, the law requires the US courts and Congress to resolve all disputes, not the US military. I see no role for the US armed forces in this process. “
Apparently the former defense ministers were also concerned about statements by Joe Biden that the Trump administration was hindering the transition process to the new administration. Among other things, Biden spoke of the fact that the US security authorities were “hollowed out” and that possible enemies could exploit any ambiguities in the transition process. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller and his staff must refrain from any political action that undermines the outcome of the election or jeopardizes the success of the new team, the opinion article said.