The Army said on Wednesday it was investigating two soldiers who appeared in uniform behind delegates in a video shown during the virtual Democratic National Convention, raising concerns of politicization of the military.
Fox News reports, during the broadcast, two soldiers who were not identified and wore black face masks stood behind 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. 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.”