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article imageFury over Marine holding umbrella over President Obama

By JohnThomas Didymus     May 17, 2013 in Politics
Washington - Outrage is being expressed over President Obama ordering a US Marine to hold an umbrella over his head while it rained during a joint press conference with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.
Conservative bloggers and news sites are blasting the President after allegations that he forced the Marine to break military protocol, while others are saying that he humiliated the Marine by making him look like a butler.
With three scandals already rocking his administration, an "umbrella scandal" is one Obama could do without.
The Washington Post comments cynically: "Even President Obama's use of umbrellas has become a scandal."
Some angry commenters have said that the use of a Marine to protect the "First Head" is outrageous at a time he is under fire over Benghazi.
'Umbrella-gate'
According to ABC News, when the US President and the Turkish Prime Minister stepped out into the Rose Garden for a joint press conference, there was a light sprinkle. Obama apologized to his guest, saying: "I’m sorry the weather’s not fully cooperating with our lovely Rose Garden press conference but I think we’ll be OK."
While they fielded questions, the drizzle intensified. Concerned about his guest, Obama said: "... let me just make sure that I’m a good host. Mr. Prime Minister, do you want an umbrella? Because we can arrange it, if you need it."
Erdogan said no. Obama quipped. "This will be incentive for the press to ask concise questions and us to give concise answers."
But as the drizzle intensified into steady rainfall, Obama said: "I am going to go ahead and ask folks, why don’t we get a couple of Marines — they’re going to look good next to us. I've got a change of suits, but I don’t know about our prime minister."
He then said to media reporters who stood protected: "You guys, I’m sorry about...”
Did the president break Marine Corps regulations?
According to The Washington Post, male Marines are not allowed to use umbrellas while in uniform, partly because it makes it more difficult to salute. However, female Marines are allowed to carry umbrellas when in service or dress uniform.
The right-leaning Daily Caller under the headline, "Obama breaches Marine umbrella protocol," writes: "The commander in chief of the American armed forces today forced a violation of Marine Corps regulations, so he wouldn't get wet."
The website cited the Marine Corps regulation MCO P1020.34F of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations chapter 3, which says:
3035. UMBRELLAS (Female Marines). Female Marines may carry an all-black, plain standard or collapsible umbrella at their option during inclement weather with the service and dress uniforms. It will be carried in the left hand so that the hand salute can be properly rendered. Umbrellas may not be used/carried in formation nor will they be carried with the utility uniform.
The website continues: "There is no provision in the Marine Corps uniform regulation guidelines that allows a male Marine to carry an umbrella... The Marine Corps Manual, the guidebook that defines protocol for officers and enlisted Marines, in section 2806 paragraph 2, specifically states: '... No officer or official shall issue instructions which conflict with, alter, or amend any provision without the approval of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.'"
The Blaze, however, points out that there is caveat. The website notes that the manual allows that a commander "may interpret the provisions of this Manual to address specific concerns whenever necessary."
The Blaze points out that the manual defines a commander as Marine officers titled as "Commanding General, Commanding Officer, Director, Officer in Charge or Inspector-Instructor."
TheBlaze reports that it contacted a Marines spokesperson and posed the question: "Given that the president is defined as the Commander in Chief 'of the Army and Navy of the United States...' by the Constitution and the fact that the Marines’ dress code protocol says 'the Commandant or higher authority' can authorize 'articles that are not authorized for wear as a part of a regulation uniform,' is the president considered a commander with this ability?"
According to The Blaze, the Marines spokesperson said "certainly."
'Obama made them look like butlers'
The Daily Mail reports that former US Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, attacked Obama for "humiliating" the Marines and "making them look like butlers."
According to McInerney, the President showed a "lack of respect" by making the soldiers hold umbrellas over his head. He wondered why the president did not use one of his several civilian aides.
The Daily Mail reports Lt Gen McInerney, said: "The President has stood in the rain before without an umbrella and a marine would generally stand there without holding an umbrella. He isn't some kind of butler or something. It makes the other guy (the other marine) look like a butler too. I think it’s a lack of respect for the marine, that’s what I think. I don’t understand why one of his aides could not have held the umbrella. The marine is a warrior but the aides are not."
Other conservative commenters have also condemned the "commander-in-chief." Sarah Palin tweeted: "Mr. President, when it rains it pours, but most Americans hold their own umbrellas."
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The conservative blog Hotair protests: "These guys aren't valets..."
An angry reader, "LameLiberals," comments in TheBlaze: "The marine was humiliated... The photo reminds me of one of those old slave movies where the slave holds a sun or rain umbrella over the head of his master to keep the sun/rain off the master while they get sun-burnt/wet.Obama should have moved inside."
Another reader, "Catty," replies: "Wow, that comment sums up all the idiotic outrage over this. Just go ahead and say it..."
Just say it...
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