With Election Day fast approaching, President Donald Trump has declined to promise a peaceful transition of power no matter who wins in November. Critics fear that he plans to call upon the U.S. military and will send active troops onto American streets to quell protests and unrest surrounding the results of the election. He might try and apply the Insurrection Act of 1807, a two-century-old law that enables a president, who also serves as the commander-in-chief, to send in active-duty military troops to put an end to extreme disturbances.
However, many Defense Department officials would resist if Trump orders the active-duty members into the streets and top officials are likely to resign, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said in a new letter. Pentagon leaders are strongly in support of an apolitical military and are very opposed to Trump’s inappropriate use of the armed forces. “The Constitution and laws of the U.S. and the states establish procedures for carrying out elections, and for resolving disputes over the outcome of elections … I do not see the U.S. military as part of this process,” Milley said in a letter to two members of the House Armed Services Committee.
And Milley is not alone in his beliefs. The Air Force chief of staff, General Charles Q. Brown, would also be unlikely to salute and carry out those orders. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told CNN that he had been assured by military leaders that they would disregard illegal orders to interfere in the election. These top-ranked officials says that it is the duty of the U.S. courts and Congress to tackle any issues that arise out of the upcoming election – it is not in the power nor the responsibility of the military to do so.
And although Democratic candidate Joe Biden has floated the potential idea of a military intervention playing a role should Trump refuse to leave office following an electoral defeat, Pentagon officials refuse to get involved on either side and insist that under no circumstances would U.S. Marines to haul Trump out of the White House.