Yesterday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a memorandum to the Armed Forces calling the recent riot in Washington DC, “a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol Building, and the Constitutional process.” Copies of this “Message to the Joint Force” will be read to or distributed to every member of the Armed Forces around the world.

The message continues by restating that the U.S. Armed Forces remain “fully committed to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies both foreign and domestic.” This is a restatement of part of the oath that both officers and enlisted personnel take when they enter military service.

This is a rare move and one that is probably intended to quell the extremist views on both the Left and Right.

On the Left, a deep fear, born of ignorance, is that President Trump will order the military to “nuke” some foreign country as a pretext to remain in office. However, under the Constitution, President Trump’s powers expire at noon on January 20. There is no asterisk after that saying “Unless a war happens or we nuke someone.” There is no provision at all for any president to retain his authority because of war or national emergency. Even in the midst of a civil war, Abraham Lincoln had to run for reelection in 1864 while almost half the country was in a state of open insurrection.