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Top line

Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday that an article published in the Washington Post suggesting that he was considering a universal draft at the urging of some in his inner circle was “completely untrue” and that he had “never even considered” imposing a draft.

Key data

On Truth Social, Trump attacked the newspaper and denied all claims that he supports conscription into the armed forces, which have operated on an all-volunteer basis for more than 50 years.

The Washington Post pointed to the support of the draft by former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who Trump said could return to the Pentagon if he were to run for a second term, as a reason to believe the presidential candidate might consider such a plan.

Miller, who served as Secretary of Defense during the final months of Trump’s term as president, has said he supports requiring all high school students to take a military aptitude test. Mandatory military service should also be “seriously considered,” the Washington Post reported. Trump’s campaign team has not commented on the issue.

Other people on Trump’s radar who have signaled potential support for the draft include Republican Senator JD Vance of Ohio – a possible Trump nominee for the Postal Service – Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of Carolina and former Trump and George W. Bush defense official Rob Hood, according to the Washington Post.

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Key quote

“The Fake News Washington Post came up with the ridiculous idea that Donald J. Trump would institute the draft,” Trump posted on Truth Social. “This is just a continuation of their EIGHT YEAR long failed attempt to harm me with the voters. The story is completely untrue. In fact, I never came up with this idea.”

Important background

Conscription requires a certain group of people—usually all men and sometimes women—to serve in their country’s armed forces for a minimum period of time, usually between one and three years. Dozens of countries have some form of conscription, including Russia (where men between the ages of 18 and 27 must serve for one year), Singapore (where men between the ages of 18 and 21 must serve for two years), and Israel (where men must serve for nearly three years and women two). The United States has never had a universal draft but has implemented conscription in both peacetime and wartime. The first peacetime conscription was implemented in 1940, before the U.S. entered World War II, and the last time nonvolunteers were forced to serve in the armed forces was during the Vietnam War. The last draft was on December 7, 1972.

Big number

41,000. The American military missed its recruitment goals by about 41,000 people last year, the Defense Department reported, citing a “difficult recruiting environment.”

Further information

WashingtonPostSome in Trump’s circle are pondering conscription
ForbesWhat would the US defense posture look like under a second Trump presidency?ForbesNew documents show Trump’s real estate billed the Defense Department $1 million

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