Milley Did Not Give Approval To Appear In New Trump Campaign Ad

President Donald Trump walks with Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark A. Milley, and others from the White House to visit St. John's Church on... President Donald Trump walks with Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark A. Milley, and others from the White House to visit St. John's Church on June 1, 2020 in Washington, DC. MORE LESS
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October 13, 2020 9:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s campaign did not seek consent from Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley to use an image of the top military officer in a recent online political ad according to Politico

A defense official told Politico that a Trump campaign ad which uses an image of Milley watching a raid of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from the Situation Room together with President Trump in October of last year had not been used with Milley’s knowledge. 

“This photo, like many others, was not used with [Milley’s] knowledge or consent,” the official told Politico.

The military bans uniformed service members participating in political campaigns. 

Per the Defense Department’s website, it’s long-standing policy that “military service members and federal employees acting in their official capacity may not engage in activities that associate the DOD with any partisan political campaign or elections, candidate, cause or issue.”

The ad is the latest instance of the Trump campaign using images of people without their consent, often cropping their words to fit a Trump narrative. The news that Milley had not been made aware that he would appear in the ad, comes just a day after Anthony Fauci criticized the Trump campaign for including him in a separate ad without his permission — even taking comments he had made out of context for political purposes. 

Milley told NPR’s Steve Inskeep during on Sunday that the United States has “a very, very long tradition of an apolitical military.”

“We have established a very long 240-year tradition of an apolitical military that does not get involved in domestic politics,” Milley told NPR.

The comments come after months ago the top military official said he regretted his role in a now famous photo op on June 1, in which law enforcement officers were used to aggressively disperse protestors from Lafayette Square.

Jim Golby, a former Pentagon official told Politico that the ad signified “a disturbing violation of civil-military norms by the President’s campaign.”

“There is simply no reason for a sitting chairman of the Joint Chiefs to be included in an advertisement paid for by the campaign,” Golby said. “Milley should denounce his inclusion in the ad, but the president never should have put him in this situation.”

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