All 10 living former US defense secretaries have come out to declare that the US presidential election is over in a forceful public letter published as President Donald Trump continues to deny his election loss to Joe Biden.
Since Election Day on November 3, 2020, Trump has falsely claimed that his second term is being stolen, even as there have been no credible allegations of widespread voting issues as affirmed by dozens of judges, governors, and election officials, the Electoral College, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the US Supreme Court.
The letter published by the Washington Post on Sunday, January 3, was signed by Dick Cheney, James Mattis, Mark Esper, Leon Panetta, Donald Rumsfeld, William Cohen, Chuck Hagel, Robert Gates, William Perry and Ashton Carter.
The letter is a show of repulsion towards Trump’s subversion efforts just days before Congress is set to count Electoral College votes.
“Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived,” the group wrote.
The report comes as congressional Republicans plan to work with Trump to object to Biden’s win during Electoral College counting on Wednesday — even though their efforts will only delay the inevitable affirmation of Biden’s win.
The former Defense secretaries wrote that presidential transitions “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.”
The letter follows Trump’s removal of former defence secretary Mark Esper in November to change the Defense Department’s civilian leadership structure and instil loyalists to Trump.
Recall in August 2020, America’s top military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, told Congress that the military won’t help settle any election disputes.
The group of former Defense secretaries reiterated in their letter that such an effort “would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory.”
“Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic,” the letter states.