With around two weeks left for President-elect Joe Biden to be sworn in, Donald Trump's refusal to concede appears to have alarmed many. In an unprecedented move on Monday, all former US Secretaries of Defense wrote a collective article reiterating that the "peaceful transfers of power" was a hallmark of America's democracy. While the Opinion article published in the Washington Post did not name President Trump, it cautioned against military interference in the polls.
The unusual article was authored by Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld. They span across party lines, with Mark Esper having been fired by President Trump less than two months ago.
"Each of us swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We did not swear it to an individual or a party," begins the somber article. The former Pentagon leaders go on to state that the time for questioning poll results "has passed". Efforts to embroil the US armed forces in election disputes, they said would take the country into "dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory".
"Acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller and his subordinates — political appointees, officers and civil servants — are each bound by oath, law and precedent to facilitate the entry into office of the incoming administration, and to do so wholeheartedly. They must also refrain from any political actions that undermine the results of the election or hinder the success of the new team. We call upon them, in the strongest terms, to do as so many generations of Americans have done before them," the article adds.