Request Acting Sec. of Defense and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff refrain from acknowledging any Trump orders to use nuclear weapons or unlawfully take military action
Washington (January 8, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Congressman James McGovern (MA-02), Chair of the House Rules Committee, called on Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley today to request they pledge to reject any order given by President Donald Trump to either invoke or provoke the use of nuclear weapons, and ensure the lawfulness of any military action and its compliance with congressional authorization. In light of this week’s attempted coup incited by President Trump that targeted the United States Congress, the Massachusetts lawmakers explain that these actions further prove Trump is incapable of upholding his commitment as president to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. In the letter, the lawmakers point to concerns made by members of Trump’s own administration regarding Trump’s state of mind, leading Cabinet members and staff to resign.
The President of the United States has sole authority in our system to authorize the use of a nuclear weapon, making Chairman Milley’s reported assurance to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) that safeguards are in place to prevent Trump from ordering a nuclear strike insufficient.
“It has become increasingly clear over the last few days that President Trump is unfit for office, is unable to fulfill his constitutional responsibilities as president — including his duties as Commander-in-Chief under Article II — and is a demonstrable threat to peace and security,” write Senator Markey and Rep. McGovern. “This sad conclusion demands close monitoring of all military orders emanating from the White House to ensure their lawfulness and compliance with congressional authorization, and must especially include a refusal to execute any Trump order for the first use of a nuclear weapon.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
In the final days of the Nixon presidency, then-Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger, in consultation with General George S. Brown, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, closely monitored orders from any source to insure that no unauthorized orders were given to military units by the White House.