|In a serious breach of long established presidential norms, President Donald Trump urged sailors attending the commissioning of the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday to wade into the political fray and help lobby Congress.|
The breach stands apart because of its directness and its implications. Trump’s verbal command in Norfolk, Virginia, incites the assembled troops to discard centuries of U.S. military ethics and break long-standing military rules. The military tradition of avoiding domestic politics literally predates the country.
|Article 88 of the military justice code makes it a crime for an officer to use “contemptuous words” against the president, vice president, Congress, or certain other officials, whether for political purposes or not. Numerous Pentagon rules and regulations aim to keep service members out of politics. DoD Directive 1344.10 bars active and reserve service members from conducting political activity in uniform or in ways that suggest they carry the military’s approval. Other DoD rules limit the way troops can wear their uniforms, use their titles, or express themselves on political issues.|