President Trump’s campaign bungled this week by running an online ad with a photo of Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley that urged voters to “request your ballot” — and sent those who clicked to the campaign’s voter-sign-up page.
It was just the latest in a string of foolish politicization of the military on both sides.
Gen. Milley naturally said his likeness was used without his consent; just days before, he’d told NPR that the military plays no role in domestic politics.
An earlier bungle came in the televised roll-call vote at the Democratic National Convention, when two soldiers from the Army Reserve’s 9th Mission Support Command appeared on-camera as the American Samoa delegation announced its votes.
The delegation said it aimed merely to highlight Samoa’s commitment to service, but Defense Department rules prohibit wearing uniforms to partisan political events.
At the time, an Army spokesperson told The Post: “The Army follows the Department of Defense’s longstanding and well-defined policy regarding political campaigns and elections to avoid the perception of DOD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of any political candidate, campaign or cause.”
Too bad Trump’s campaign — or at least the guy who assembled that Web ad — wasn’t paying attention.
If there’s one American tradition that has served the nation well, it’s the one banning involvement of the armed forces in political disputes, campaigns and rallies. Violating that is disrespectful to all US service members and veterans.
The nation’s political fights are ugly enough; it doesn’t need anyone in the military seeming to pick sides.
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