Did 124 Retired Admirals and Generals Sign Letter Questioning 2020 Election?

The letter received harsh criticism from other military leaders for being "anti-democratic."

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124 retired admirals and generals signed a letter questioning the 2020 election and U.S. President Joe Biden's mental accuity.
Image via Brent Stirton / Getty Images

Claim

One hundred twenty-four retired admirals and generals signed a letter questioning the validity of the 2020 election and U.S. President Joe Biden's mental acuity.

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Context

Albeit signed by more than 100 former U.S. military leaders, the "Flag Officers 4 America" letter is most accurately described as a partisan political attack on President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.

Origin

A group of 124 retired military officers signed an open letter that basically amounts to a partisan attack on the Democratic Party and U.S. President Joe Biden, while repeating some of the same false claims about the 2020 presidential election that sparked the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The letter, published on May 12, 2021, by a group calling itself “Flag Officers 4 America,” criticized the Biden administration for undoing “effective policies and regulations” of former President Donald Trump.

“Under a Democrat Congress and the Current Administration, our Country has taken a hard left turn toward Socialism and a Marxist form of tyrannical government which must be countered now by electing congressional and presidential candidates who will always act to defend our Constitutional Republic,” the letter stated.

The letter also echoed Trump’s disinformation campaign around the 2020 election, in which he falsely claimed that Biden only won because of massive scale voter fraud, and also advocated for more restrictive voter laws being passed by Republican state legislatures in response to that disinformation campaign.

“Without fair and honest elections that accurately reflect the ‘will of the people’ our Constitutional Republic is lost. Election integrity demands insuring there is one legal vote cast and counted per citizen. Legal votes are identified by State Legislature’s approved controls using government IDs, verified signatures, etc. Today, many are calling such commonsense controls ‘racist’ in an attempt to avoid having fair and honest elections. Using racial terms to suppress proof of eligibility is itself a tyrannical intimidation tactic,” the letter asserts.

It adds, “The FBI and Supreme Court must act swiftly when election irregularities are surfaced and not ignore them as was done in 2020,” the letter states.

Despite this claim, neither federal investigators nor the U.S. Supreme Court “ignored” allegations of widespread voter fraud. Both took up those claims and rejected them. Federal investigators found no evidence to support claims of widespread fraud that would upend the election’s results, while the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s legal attempts to undermine it.

In short, no compelling evidence of massive scale fraud has ever been presented by Trump or his supporters. The Trump administration’s Department of Justice issued a statement of Nov. 12, 2020, saying the election was the “most secure in American history.”

For the most part, the signatories of the Flag Officers 4 America letter have been retired from the military for decades, Politico reported. It received harsh critique from other military leaders for being anti-democratic, using the gravitas of military rank to spread disinformation while launching a strident partisan invective against an entire American political party, and going against professional norms against politicizing the U.S. Armed Forces, according to the Politico report.

“They are absolutely violating the norm to be apolitical,” Marybeth Ulrich, retired Air Force colonel and Army War College and Air Force Academy instructor, told Politico. “They are being used for partisan purposes. They are going against their constitutional oath.”

The letter’s grievances were described by retired Adm. Mike Mullen, former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as “right-wing Republican talking points.” 

False claims by Trump and his supporters that the 2020 presidential election were stolen from Trump by way of massive-scale voter fraud were motivating factors in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Four people died that day, and three police officers involved in the effort to protect the Capitol died in the days following. Roughly 140 police officers were injured, some seriously, while members of Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence, who were in session to formalize Biden’s electoral win, fled a mob some of whose members had voiced intent to kill them.