10 EX-PENTAGON CHIEFS WARN TRUMP: KEEP MILITARY OUT OF YOUR COUP
In an extraordinary rebuke of President Donald Trump, all 10 living former secretaries of defense are cautioning against any move to involve the military in pursuing claims of election fraud, arguing that it would take the country into “dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory,” Robert Burns wrote for the Associated Press (AP).
The 10 men, both Democrats and Republicans, signed on to an opinion article published Sunday in The Washington Post that implicitly questioned Trump’s willingness to follow his Constitutional duty to peacefully relinquish power on Jan. 20.
Following the Nov. 3 election and subsequent recounts in some states, as well as unsuccessful court challenges, the outcome is clear, they wrote, while not specifying Trump in the article.
“The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived,” they wrote.
The former Pentagon chiefs warned against use of the military in any effort to change the outcome.
“Efforts to involve the US armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory,” they wrote.
“Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic.”
The opinion article in the Post was signed by Dick Cheney, William Perry, Donald Rumsfeld, William Cohen, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta, Chuck Hagel, Ash Carter, James Mattis and Mark Esper. Mattis was Trump’s first defense secretary; he resigned in 2018 and was succeeded by Esper, who was fired just days after the Nov. 3 election.
The Post reported that the idea for writing the opinion piece began with a conversation between Cheney and Eric Edelman, a retired ambassador and former senior Pentagon official, about how Trump might seek to use the military in coming days.
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