Aug 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Gen. Mark Milley says military will not have a hand in election process

Gen. Mark Milley walking through Congress in July.
Gen. Mark Milley walking through Congress in July. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that the U.S. armed forces will not be involved in the election process or resolving a possible disputed vote this November, according to comments released Friday to AP.

Why it matters: The statements from the top U.S. military officer come after President Trump floated delaying the election, repeatedly claimed without evidence that the upcoming election will be rigged or affected by widespread voter fraud, and refused to say whether he will accept the election results if he loses.

What he's saying: “I believe deeply in the principle of an apolitical U.S. military,” Milley said in written responses to questions from two Democratic members of the House Armed Services Committee, according to AP.

  • “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.”
  • When asked whether the armed forces would reject a presidential order to use military force for political gain, Milley said, “I will not follow an unlawful order.”

The big picture: This marks the second time that Milley has recently stressed the nonpartisan nature of the U.S. military.

What to watch: Members of the House Armed Services Committee now await responses to questions that were also sent to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Go deeper