The Army is investigating the appearance of two soldiers who appeared in uniform in a video for the Democratic National Convention, raising concerns of politicization of the military, it said in a statement Wednesday.
During the roll call broadcast, two soldiers who were not identified flanked officials from American Samoa while the territory announced its delegates. Democratic Party spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa called their appearance “an oversight,” as Defense Department rules prohibit troops from appearing in uniform at partisan political or campaign events.
“Each state was asked to highlight issues and values that matter most and the American Samoa delegation wanted to highlight their commitment to military service when they filmed their segment,” the official explained.
American Samoa has among the highest rate of military enlistment of any U.S. state or territory.
“Wearing a uniform to a partisan political event like this is prohibited,” Army spokesperson Lt. Col. Emanuel Ortiz said in a statement. “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.
In this image from video, Aliitama Sotoa and Petti Matila of American Samoa speak during the state roll call vote on second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)
“Examples of prohibited political activities include campaigning for a candidate, soliciting contributions, marching in a partisan parade and wearing the uniform to a partisan event.”
Power Efficiency Guide Will Change Your World Forever
Electric Companies Have Already Gathered An Army of Lawyers To Take this Down.Become Free From There Hold
Earlier this year, Defense Department Secretary Mark Esper issued a periodic reminder to troops to be mindful during an election year to “uphold DoD’s longstanding tradition of remaining apolitical as we carry out our official responsibilities.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party platform calls for an end to “the Trump Administration’s politicization of the armed forces.”
Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley publicly apologized after he accompanied President Trump as he walked across Lafayette Square to take a photo with a Bible outside St. John’s Church in the height of racial injustice protests in Washington, D.C.
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe