The most recent move in the duel for perceived military support in the upcoming presidential election was yet another letter -- this time in support of Joe Biden and this time with almost 500 signatures.
National Security Leaders for Biden published their letter on Thursday, signed by 489 former senior military officers, service chiefs, Cabinet secretaries and more.
Several of the names on the list are those of senior military officials who previously served under President Donald Trump, including former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva.
"We are former public servants who have devoted our careers, and in many cases risked our lives, for the United States. We are generals, admirals, senior noncommissioned officers, ambassadors, and senior civilian national security leaders," the first line of the letter reads.
Biden is "guided by the principles that have long made America great," the NSL letter reads, including the principle that "those who sacrifice or give their lives in service of our nation deserve our respect and eternal gratitude."
A similar support letter for Trump's reelection was published -- signed by 235 retired flag officers.
"As retired military officers, we believe that Donald J. Trump has been tested as few other presidents have and is the proven leader to confront these dangers," that letter reads.
Of those 235 signers, 116 of them signed the support letter after reports of alleged comments Trump made about members of the U.S. military who have been captured, killed or wounded. The "suckers" and "losers" story -- which the president has dismissed as fabricated -- sowed division among veterans across the country.
"Joe Biden has the character, principles, wisdom, and leadership necessary to address a world on fire," the letter of support for the Democrat candidate closes. "That is why Joe Biden must be the next president of the United States; why we vigorously support his election; and why we urge our fellow citizens to do the same."
Former military officials voicing opinions in favor of one candidate or another is not a new practice. Before the 2016 election, the Trump campaign announced endorsements from 88 retired military officers. Hillary Clinton's campaign announced 110. However, even the highest echelons of military leadership are drawing attention to this year's election.
"Each of you have earned your right to vote," Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley said during a virtual town hall Thursday morning. "So I would encourage that everyone exercise their right to vote when the time comes and use the rights that have been granted to you in the Constitution."
However, he also advised military personnel to remain "apolitical" and "keep the constitution close to your heart."
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