Aiming at Trump, Joe Biden says he won’t use the military as a ‘prop’

Joe Biden said on Saturday he would never use the military “as a shield or private militia” as president and accused President Donald Trump of using US forces to settle “personal vendettas” and abuse the rights of civilians. In a virtual address to the general conference of the United States National Guard Organization, the Democratic presidential candidate said Trump suggested “that you should be mobilised to quote, ‘dominate,’ your fellow citizens for expressing their right to demonstrate peacefully.”

His remarks came a day after the president of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, told Congress that the armed forces would have no part to play in managing the election process or resolving a contested vote. It was a sign of increasing tensions on both sides, as the president declared without proof that the predicted increase in mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic would make the vote “inaccurate and dishonest.” Trump also indicated that if he loses, he would not recognise the election results.

Biden has said he’s “completely sure” that if the incumbent lost but refused to resign, the military would evacuate Trump from the White House. In addressing the conference, Biden did not repeat the statement but vowed to restore the distinction between civilian and military forces which he called “the cornerstone principle of our republic.”