The Washington Post’s Missy Ryan and Paul Sonne report: President Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the results of the November election, paired with his penchant for plunging the military into the partisan fray, has prompted scholars and legal experts to ask a once-unthinkable question: How would the armed forces respond if pulled into a disputed election?
Speculation about whether the military could be asked to play a role in events following the 2020 presidential vote has intensified in the wake of the Pentagon’s involvement in the government’s response to demonstrations against racism and police brutality.
- “If the president is willing to thrust the military leadership into so damaging a set of circumstances during the protests, just imagine what he would be willing to do if he wants to prevent an electoral outcome that would be damaging to him,” said Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. “So yes, they should be absolutely worried about it.”
- “First there’s a president who seems totally willing and eager to utilize instruments of national power in pursuit of his reelection and, second, a president who’s willing or indeed eager to utilize the military on domestic soil,” said Joshua Geltzer, a former official in the Obama administration who serves as executive director of Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection. “We should be really worried if we see those things coming together.”
- “If you look at history, it’s hard to think of an example where a president has given an order to the military to try to save himself politically and that effort has succeeded. It is not happening,” [Presidential historian Michael Beschloss] said. “We have a democratic tradition, and we have a process, and even despite these times, those two things remain.”
"President Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the results of the November election […] has prompted scholars and legal experts to ask a once-unthinkable question: How would the armed forces respond if pulled into a disputed election?"https://t.co/lPaLaBY2RA— Washington Post PR (@WashPostPR) July 28, 2020
Trump’s refusal to acknowledge Russian interference in the 2016 election has inspired other foreign adversaries to do the same. Elections officials work hard to protect election infrastructure, and we need your help in combatting disinformation. #VoteSafehttps://t.co/qZEul95kfx— Alex Padilla (@AlexPadilla4CA) July 28, 2020