Former defense secretaries release letter saying election is over

The letter is a display of unity against Trump's efforts to cause chaos before Congress's final vote count

In a strongly-worded letter published Sunday in The Washington Post, the 10 living former U.S. defense secretaries declared that the U.S. presidential election is over, despite President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept Joe Biden’s victory.

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 an extraordinary display of unity and force against Trump’s blatant efforts to cause chaos just days before Congress is set to count Electoral College votes.

President Trump Arrives Back At White House After Stay At Walter Reed Medical Center For Covid
President Donald Trump stands on the Truman Balcony after returning to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump spent three days hospitalized for coronavirus. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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“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.

Despite the lack of evidence that the November presidential election was stolen from him, Trump obsessively claims that it was. The highest court has affirmed that there was no election fraud, yet a significant number of congressional Republicans are siding with the President and plan to object to Biden’s win during Electoral College counting on Wednesday Jan. 6.

Addressing Trump’s frequent threat to call in the military to forcefully gain a second term, the former Defense secretaries quoted senior Defense Department leaders, saying, “there’s no role for the military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election.”

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“Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into danerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory. Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties.”

The former Defense secretaries ended their letter by urging the Defense Department to “refrain from any political actions” that could undermine the election results or harm the transition to a new administration.

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