Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.

Donate
Topics

Joint Chiefs’ memo is welcome under the current circumstances

It is significantly reassuring that the Joint Chiefs have broken with tradition and made the statement they have.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley
REUTERS/Erin Scott

Under normal circumstances, it would be somewhat alarming for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff to issue a statement affirming that Joe Biden will be their next commander in chief because he has won the 2020 presidential election.

Under normal circumstances, the Joint Chiefs, comprising the top officers of the branches of the U.S. armed forces, would go to some lengths to avoid taking a position on such a matter. And it would be best if we never had to ask the Joints Chiefs to play such a role, which some might say amounts to interfering in domestic politics and seeking to choose their own commander in chief.

But these are not normal circumstances. Under the current circumstances, I very much welcome their statement.

I have previously mentioned on a couple of occasions that, although Joe Biden won the election and Donald Trump lost it, I will not completely unclench my muscles and relax my nerves until Biden has been inaugurated and Trump has left the White House and everyone relevant has acknowledged that Biden is president and Trump is not.

Article continues after advertisement

I renew that pledge, about not unclenching prematurely, even after Trump made a recent half-assed acknowledgement of the election, although that didn’t keep him from inciting a deadly riot to keep the transfer of power from proceeding.

But it is significantly reassuring that the Joint Chiefs have broken with tradition and made the statement they have. Members of the military, even the top generals and admirals, work for the president and are expected to follow presidential orders. The joint chiefs did not specify what they might do in the days remaining if Trump were to try to use the military to cling to power. And that, of course, is why I welcome their statement.

The full statement by the Joint Chiefs can be accessed here.