Trump Says Claims Suggesting He Would Consider Mandatory Military Draft Are ‘Completely Untrue’

‘I never even thought of that idea,’ former President Donald Trump said in response to The Washington Post article.
Trump Says Claims Suggesting He Would Consider Mandatory Military Draft Are ‘Completely Untrue’
Former President Donald Trump speaks to media at Trump Tower in New York City, on May 31, 2024. (Juliette Fairley/The Epoch Times)
Jack Phillips

Former President Donald Trump said on June 11 that claims suggesting he would consider a mandatory draft if reelected are “completely untrue” and that he has “never even thought” of the idea.

The former president was responding to an article from The Washington Post, which cited “a cluster of influential former administration officials and GOP lawmakers,” that suggested he could re-instate mandatory military service for younger adults.

In a Truth Social post this week, former President Trump said it is a “ridiculous idea,” adding: “The Story is completely untrue. In fact, I never even thought of that idea.”

“This is only a continuation of their EIGHT YEAR failed attempt to damage me,” the former president said.

Previously, the former president hadn’t commented on whether younger people should be mandated to serve in the U.S. military, and The Washington Post did not include the former president’s opinion on a possible draft. The United States hasn’t had a draft since 1973, during the Vietnam War, and since then, military service has been voluntary.

The Washington Post report makes significant references to arguments made by former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who was the Pentagon chief during the last several months of the Trump administration. Mr. Miller told the Post that he supports high school students taking tests to determine whether they can serve in the military, adding that a national service mandate should be considered.

“It reinforces the bonds of civility,” Mr. Miller said of a service requirement, adding: “Why wouldn’t we give that a try?”

The former acting Pentagon chief added that with the rise of China, the United States may need to “prepare for a great-power competition.” He added that it would be “helpful to have a baseline understanding of the pool of potential military service members and their specific aptitudes prior.”
President Trump told radio host Hugh Hewitt in late 2023 that he would consider bringing Mr. Miller back into a potential second Trump administration. Responding to a question about the secretary of defense position, President Trump replied: “It’s such an important position. You know, we had [Chris] Miller at the end who did a very good job.” He did not elaborate further.
Besides Mr. Miller, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) suggested that measures should be taken to boost enlistment in the U.S. military. This comes as the heads of military branches have informed Congress about recent declines in recruitment.

“I like the idea of national service. And I’m not talking about in wartime,” Mr. Vance stated, adding that more Americans should have “some skin in the game.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told The Washington Post, “I will take no option off the table” in response to dealing with the low recruitment numbers, including mandatory service.

A 2022 report from the Department of Defense shows that 2,077,630 service members were in the active-duty and selected reserve population, a decrease of about 58,000 from 2021.

The report, posted on Military OneSource, showed that all service branches saw a decrease in numbers between 2005 and 2022.

A poll released by Pew Research in February showed that a majority of young Americans have had a negative view of the U.S. military. About 23 percent of young people qualify for the military, while a majority of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have a negative view of the armed forces.

In 2019, the Trump administration appealed a federal judge’s ruling that found a male-only draft violated the U.S. Constitution. That same year, U.S. District Judge Gray Miller declared the current system unconstitutional but did not require the Selective Service System to change it to include the drafting of women as well as men.

The Epoch Times has contacted Mr. Graham and Mr. Vance for comment.

Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X: