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US presidential election: Pentagon sees no role in poll crisis

Reuters
Filed on October 30, 2020 | Last updated on October 30, 2020 at 11.47 pm
AP

In the months preceding the election on Tuesday, US military officials have been forced to contemplate the possible fallout from a contested election.

Politics aside, there is one outcome of the 2020 US presidential election that could bring some relief to Pentagon planners: a clear-cut victory. By either candidate.

In the months preceding the election on Tuesday, US military officials have been forced to contemplate the possible fallout from a contested election.

A contested vote could stir the kind of wild speculation that forced America's top general to assure lawmakers the military would have no role in settling any election dispute between President Donald Trump and his challenger Joe Biden.

A decisive result could allay such concerns by lowering the risk of a prolonged political crisis, say current and former officials as well as experts.

"The best thing for us (the military), would be a landslide one way or another," said a US defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, voicing a sentiment shared by multiple officials.

As one of America's most respected institutions, the US military has had trouble staying on the political sidelines during a turbulent year.

The president, who boasts about his broad support within military, has declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he decides results are fraudulent and has proposed mobilising troops under the Insurrection Act. For his part, Biden has suggested the military would ensure a peaceful transfer of power if Trump refuses to leave office after the election.

US Army General Mark Milley has been clear about the military staying out if there is a contested ballot. "If there is, it'll be handled appropriately by the courts and by the US Congress. There's no role for the US military in determining the outcome of a US election. Zero. There is no role there," he said.





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