A former commander of the Army’s elite Delta Force says media reports are mischaracterizing an open letter he and dozens of other retired American military generals released this week criticizing the Biden administration’s policies and questioning the president’s mental acuity.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin told The Washington Times on Thursday that reports claiming the letter accused Mr. Biden of stealing last year’s presidential election are inaccurate.
“We’re not calling [Mr. Biden] an illegitimate president,” said Mr. Boykin, although he added that the letter does raise questions about voter fraud and election integrity issues.
“There is no question there was voter fraud in this election but whether it was enough to change the outcome of the election is something we’ll never know,” Mr. Boykin said in an interview.
His comments come after several news organizations followed a report by Politico this week that said the letter signed by Mr. Boykin and 123 other former senior military leaders clearly set out to spread “the lie that President Joe Biden stole the election.”
The letter, titled an “Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals” was sponsored by an organization called “Flag Officers 4 America.” It claimed the country has taken a “hard left turn” toward socialism and a Marxist form of government since President Biden was elected.
While the letter did not explicitly say anything about the election being stolen, it openly accused the Biden administration of opening a “full-blown assault on our Constitutional rights in a dictatorial manner.”
Pentagon officials declined to comment about the letter that some have characterized as a military revolt against Mr. Biden.
The letter accused the Biden administration of using military personnel as political pawns by deploying troops to the U.S. Capitol to guard against what the retired military officers characterized as a “non-existent threat.” National Guard troops were sent to the capitol after mobs of pro-Trump voters forced their way into the building on Jan. 6 to interfere with Congress’ certification of the 2020 election result.
The letter also criticized the Biden administration’s Iran and China policies, before questioning whether the president is up to the rigors of the job. “The mental and physical condition of the Commander-in-Chief cannot be ignored,” it stated.
Partisan activity from retired military officers isn’t unheard of, but the timing of the letter amid ongoing political division over of Jan. 6 makes it egregious, argues Peter Feaver, a political scientist at Duke University, who studies civil-military relations.
“With the embers of the Jan. 6 attempt to block the peaceful presidential transition still smoldering, this letter pours gasoline on the fire,” Mr. Feaver wrote in Foreign Policy magazine.
Some retired military leaders have dismissed the letter and its signatories. “There is an unsigned list of thousands of former senior officers who remain committed (for life) to the Constitution (against all enemies, foreign and domestic,)” retired Army Gen. Tony Thomas, a former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, wrote in a Twitter message. He added the letter’s signatories “are not ‘notables.’”
Retired Navy admiral John Poindexter was one signatory. Mr. Poindexter, who served as national security adviser under President Reagan, was convicted of multiple felonies over his role in the Iran-Contra Affair. The convictions were later overturned on appeal.
The letter, meanwhile, claimed federal law enforcement authorities ignored irregularities that occurred in the 2020 election. “The FBI and Supreme Court must act swiftly when election irregularities are surfaced and not ignore them as was done in 2020,” it stated.
However, former Attorney General William Barr has said the Justice Department uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Mr. Boykin, now executive vice president of the conservative Family Research Council, said the letter sought to “[make] a point that election integrity is critical to the preservation of the republic.”
“I believe somebody has to raise the awareness of what’s happening in our nation and be prepared to do all they can to try and save it,” he said.
“I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Mr. Boykin said. “Even though I took off my uniform, there was no expiration date to my commitment to this country.”