All 10 living former defense secretaries on Sunday declared the 2020 presidential election over and said any effort to involve the U.S. military in resolving election disputes “would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory.”
Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld in an opinion piece for The Washington Post wrote that the Trump administration must ensure for a smooth transition as they “are a crucial part of the successful transfer of power.
“They often occur at times of international uncertainty about U.S. national security policy and posture. They can be a moment when the nation is vulnerable to actions by adversaries seeking to take advantage of the situation,” they added.
“Given these factors, particularly at a time when U.S. forces are engaged in active operations around the world, it is all the more imperative that the transition at the Defense Department be carried out fully, cooperatively and transparently.”
Congress is set to count Electoral College votes on Jan. 6. Upward of 100 House Republicans and at least 12 GOP Senators have said they will oppose the results.
Once an objection is filed each chamber would have to debate for two hours and then vote on whether to disqualify a state’s votes. Both chambers would then have to agree to disqualify the state’s votes, an outcome that is nearly impossible.
The former Defense secretaries ended their op-ed urging the Defense Department to “refrain from any political actions” that could undermine the election results or harm the transition to a new administration.
“We call upon them, in the strongest terms, to do as so many generations of Americans have done before them,” the letter states.