- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Army confirmed Wednesday it was investigating two soldiers who appeared during the virtual roll call vote at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday in apparent violation of military rules barring troops from taking part in political events.

“The Army is investigating two soldiers from the 9th Mission Support Command who appeared in uniform during the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 18,” the service said in a statement. “Wearing a uniform to a partisan political event like this is prohibited.”

The statement went on, “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.”

Prohibited activities include campaigning for candidates, soliciting contributions, marching in a partisan parade or wearing a uniform to a partisan event.

The two junior enlisted soldiers appeared with two Democratic delegates from American Samoa during Tuesday’s virtual roll call vote that nominated former Vice President Joseph R. Biden for president.

Asked about the use of the military in the video, a Pentagon spokesman said: “All members of the armed forces, including active-duty members, members of the reserve component not on active duty, and retired members, are prohibited from wearing military uniforms at political campaign or election events.”

An official at the Democratic National Convention told ABC News that the soldiers’ appearance was a mistake. “The composition of that shot was an oversight,” the official said.

Guidance issued by the Pentagon last year states that military and civilian personnel are encouraged to vote, but highlights the guidance against overt political campaigning in uniform.

A Pentagon directive states that members of the armed forces on active duty can express their views on candidates, donate to campaigns and sign petitions used to place candidates on ballots.

“Members on active duty may not participate in partisan activities such as soliciting or engaging in partisan fundraiser activities, serving as the sponsor of a partisan club, or speaking before a partisan gathering,” the statement said. “In addition, all military members, including National Guard and Reserve forces, are prohibited from wearing military uniforms at political campaign events.”

Mike Glenn contributed to this story.

• Bill Gertz can be reached at bgertz@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide