Joint Chiefs denounce 'sedition and insurrection' of Capitol attack

Joint Chiefs denounce 'sedition and insurrection' of Capitol attack
© Greg Nash

The United States’ top military officers on Tuesday condemned the “sedition and insurrection” that took place at the Capitol last week when supporters of President TrumpDonald TrumpRonny Jackson, former White House doctor, predicts Biden will resign McCarthy: Pelosi appointing members of Jan. 6 panel who share 'pre-conceived narrative' Kinzinger denounces 'lies and conspiracy theories' while accepting spot on Jan. 6 panel MORE overtook the building.

“We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyAuthoritarianism: It can definitely happen here Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Biden authorizes up to 0M for Afghan refugees MORE and the rest of the Joint Chiefs wrote in memo to the force.

In addition to Milley, the memo was signed by Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten and the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Marines Corps, Air Force, Space Force and National Guard.

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The memo comes almost a week after rioters stormed the Capitol while Congress was meeting to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, forcing lawmakers, staffers and journalists to find secure locations to hide in as the mob ransacked offices, assaulted Capitol Police officers and stole property. One Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the attack.

The siege came after Trump spent weeks falsely claiming the election was rigged against him and shortly after he told a crowd of his supporters in D.C. to march on the Capitol and show “strength.”

Military officers typically avoid commenting on anything that can be perceived as thrusting the military into politics. But the assault on the Capitol in an effort to overturn a democratic process has shaken Washington and the nation.

The attack also raised questions about the extent of extremism in the military and among veterans after several rioters were identified as former members of the military.

The woman who was fatally shot by Capitol Police while trying to breach the door to the Speaker’s Lobby was an Air Force veteran, and a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel was arrested Sunday after being photographed on the Senate floor wearing tactical gear and carrying plastic zip ties used by law enforcement as handcuffs. Another man arrested over the weekend was identified as a Navy veteran.

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At least one active-duty service member, an Army psychological operations officer, is under investigation by the Army for her involvement in the rally that preceded the riot, though she insists she did not enter the Capitol.

In their memo, the Joint Chiefs reminded service members of their oath to uphold the Constitution.

“As service members, we must embody the values and ideals of the nation,” they wrote. “We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values and oath; it is against the law.”

They further reminded the force that under the Constitution, Biden will be their commander in chief next week.

“On Jan. 20, 2021, in accordance with the Constitution, confirmed by the states and the courts, and certified by Congress, President-elect BidenJoe BidenHouse Republican calls second bout of COVID-19 'far more challenging' Conflicting school mask guidance sparks confusion Biden: Pathway to citizenship in reconciliation package 'remains to be seen' MORE will be inaugurated and will become our 46th commander in chief,” they wrote.

“To our men and women deployed and at home, safeguard our country--stay ready, keep your eyes on the horizon, and remain focused on the mission,” they concluded. “We honor your continued service in defense of every American.”