President Biden will take office on Jan. 20, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday in a message to the armed forces.
“As we have done throughout our history, the U.S. military will obey lawful orders from civilian leadership, support civil authorities to protect lives and property, ensure public safety in accordance with the law, and remain fully committed to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” the message, sent out on Tuesday to all troops, reads.
It’s a stunning statement, if only for the fact of its existence: the military feels the need to say that it will stay apolitical, as it has done for nearly 250 years. The message suggests that the country’s top generals feel the need to remind the troops to “embody the values and ideals of the Nation.”
“Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath: it is against the law,” the message reads.
The note comes almost one week after the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol by a group of Trump supporters seeking to prevent Biden’s victory in last year’s elections from being ratified.
The mob that stormed the Capitol contained at least one active-duty member of the military, as well as multiple veterans. Ashli Babbitt, who was killed by Capitol police while attempting to break in to the Speaker’s gallery, was herself an Air Force veteran.
The message, signed by every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, describes Jan. 6 as a “violent riot” and a “direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process.”
“We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law,” the message reads. “The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection.”
Read the letter here: