Report: Pentagon Brass Privately Discussing What To Do If Trump Invokes Insurrection Act

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley (L) speaks with White house Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after the Medal of Honor ceremony for US Army Sergeant Major Thomas Payne for conspicuous gallantry while... Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley (L) speaks with White house Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after the Medal of Honor ceremony for US Army Sergeant Major Thomas Payne for conspicuous gallantry while serving in Iraq, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on September 11, 2020. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
|
September 25, 2020 9:48 a.m.

Top military brass have spoken privately about what to do should President Donald Trump order them into the streets as election results are tallied, The New York Times reported Friday.

Trump has repeatedly said that the only way he’ll lose his reelection campaign is if the election is fraudulent, raising concerns that he’ll challenge a losing result and potentially refuse to leave office.

Unnamed senior Pentagon officials have spoken among themselves, the Times reported, about what to do should Trump invoke the Insurrection Act sometime after Election Day. The law provides for the use of the military on American soil, and Trump has threatened to use it before, to suppress racial justice protests earlier this year.

Unnamed Defense Department officials have spoken privately about the potential of Trump using the military to “put his thumb on the scales,” in the Times’ words. Per the paper, such a move may cause resignations among military leadership, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley.

Newsletters
Get TPM in your inbox, twice weekly.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

The Times noted that Milley told Congress last month that he believes “deeply in the principle of an apolitical U.S. military.”

“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,” Milley said. “I foresee no role for the U.S armed forces in this process.”

At least one Trump ally, Roger Stone, whose prison sentence was also commuted by Trump in July, has suggested that the President could invoke the Insurrection Act in response to the election. He also said the President should send federal forces to seize ballots in Nevada, a crucial state that this year has decided to send every active registered voter a mail-in ballot, in comments earlier this month first noted by Media Matters.

“There’s going to be widespread, obvious, blatant, flagrant illegality,” he said. “The authority exists to stop that, it will have to be used if necessary.”

Reached by email this week, Stone stood by his remarks but added, “I have no official or unofficial capacity in election day activities and have no plans to take one on.”

Latest News
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Audience Development Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: