Semper Sigh: Biden’s Use of the Marines Violated Long-Standing Federal Policies and Regulations

Below is my column in the New York Post on the controversial speech of President Joe Biden in Philadelphia. The speech has received sharply different reviews from “disgusting” and “hateful” to a historic declaration of war against the enemies of the state. Some like MSNBC regular (and writer for The Nation and Above the Law) Elie Mystal insisted that the speech did not go far enough because all Republicans are white supremacists, not just MAGA Republicans. I thought the speech was divisive and inflammatory. However, it was not the content but the optics of the speech that was particularly unsettling.  Framing Biden were two Marines standing like nutcracker props in a highly political speech. His use of the Marines (and the Marine band) violated long-standing rules for shielding the services from such political events.

Here is the column:

President Joe Biden’s speech in Philadelphia has produced sharply different responses from the media. On CNN, it was praised as a rallying cry for patriots. On conservatives sites, it was denounced as hateful and divisive.  For many of us, however, the optics was a glaring distraction with the intense red background and prominently placed Marines framing the President. The use of the Marines and the Marine band raised concerns given the clearly political purpose of the speech. Indeed, the networks did not view the speech as an address to the nation and refused to give the White House primetime slots.

While White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre assured the media that “it’s not a political speech,” it was unabashedly political from calls to get the vote out to direct attacks on “MAGA Republicans” and Donald Trump. That again raised the legal questions over the use of the Marines in such a speech. Even CNN flagged the concern over the use of the Marines and CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins stated the obvious that “it was a very political speech.”

The optics of the speech instantly became a source of Internet chatter with the weird red background that made the President look like he was giving a stump speech from Dante’s Inferno. Indeed, it almost had that High Chancellor Adam Sutler look from V for Vendetta. (The comparison ultimately did not end with just the optics. Sutler warned his inner circle that “every day…brings us closer to November” and “I want this country to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion. I want every man, woman and child to understand how close we are to chaos…to remember why they need us!”).

However, it was the use of the Marine guards that most stood out — framing the President as he declared Trump supporters to be a threat to democracy . Biden denounced “MAGA Republicans” thirteen times as well as repeated references to his past and possible future political opponent, Donald Trump.

The speech was obviously political, as noted by CNN’s Collins, as a “full frontal attack” on his political opponents.

The United States has long drawn a line between the work of federal employees in public service and the use of such employees for political purposes. The Hatch Act was passed in 1939 to curtail the political activities of civilian federal employees.

The Marine Corps expressly forbids personnel from being used or participating in such political events.

“Active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities, and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign, or cause.”

The other services have also drawn a bright line against such appearances. Army officials, for example, stress that their rules bar such involvement because “actual or perceived partisanship could undermine the legitimacy of the military profession and department.”

In Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 the long list of prohibited involvement in political events include:

“Attend partisan political events as an official representative of the Armed Forces, except as a member of a joint Armed Forces color guard at the opening ceremonies of the national conventions of the Republican, Democratic, or other political parties recognized by the Federal Elections Committee or as otherwise authorized by the Secretary concerned.”

These rules also expressly bar the wearing of uniforms at such political speeches: “The wearing of the uniform by Service members … is prohibited … during or in connection with furthering political activities, private employment, or commercial interests, when an inference of official sponsorship … for the activity or interest may be drawn.”

There are obviously gray areas for a president who is necessarily accompanied by members of the military. Moreover, drawing the line between what is a presidential address and what is a political speech is often difficult. Presidents are politicians and often use official statements to slam their critics or opponents. Such events often have color guards and military bands.

The enforcement of such rules are also rather anemic. Even violation of the Hatch Act are routinely brushed aside by presidents and both the Biden and Trump administrations have violated the Act in the past.

Yet, what is interesting is the relative silence of many in the media on the use of these Marines as virtual nutcracker props for a political speech. The media overwhelmingly condemned President Trump for his picture in front of St. John’s Church after the clearing of Lafayette Park in 2020. While the media falsely claimed that the park was cleared for the photo ed, many criticized the photo with military and law enforcement officials as inappropriate. Later, Gen. Mark A. Milley, apologized for being in the photo, declaring “My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.”

Yet, Milley has said nothing about supplying not just the Marine Band but Marines to stand directly behind Biden at a political speech as he denounced his political opponents as threats to democracy and part of what he was called a “semi-fascist” movement. Those Marines stood at attention as the President declared “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” (Apparently, nothing says that you are against fascism as much as labeling your political opponents enemies of the state with Marines on either side of you).

The use of the Marines would certainly seem to “create a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.” Moreover, the message sent to other military personnel, particularly other Marines, is that support for the President’s opponents is considered a threat to the constitutional Republic.

The Washington Post previously objected to the use of the Marine band at the White House when President Trump was viewed as giving a political speech. During the Trump Administration, others joined such criticism including Members of Congress and public interest groups.

Alice Hunt Friend, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Post that the use of the band was a “big violation” since “Americans who see uniformed military personnel at partisan political functions may assume the military has a partisan identity. Presidents running for reelection always have to take extra care to keep their military aides out of their campaign activities.”

Those voices are, thus far, silent in President Biden’s use of these Marines for a highly partisan and divisive speech.

Winston Churchill once said that it is “always dangerous” for military to find themselves mixing with politics because “they enter a sphere in which the values are quite different from those to which they have hitherto been accustomed.” That was never more evident as two young Marines stood at attention as their president accused millions of their fellow citizens of being enemies of the constitutional Republic. They deserved better from the President.

306 thoughts on “Semper Sigh: Biden’s Use of the Marines Violated Long-Standing Federal Policies and Regulations”

  1. I believe Donald is a genius. Emptying sleeves that they have to fill in And with what? They have to fill in the blank. So let’s see what they fill in as “classified”. Maybe they have to fill in its impossible for so many people in Bush bldg 171 to get als. Maybe that method of ‘tactic’ gets off the table once and forever!

    1. I expected to see former VP Xiden to stop talking,grab his head on both sides, ripping off his human costume, exposing Adolph Hitler in the flesh!

  2. And so it begins , the left leaning media now are on their MAGA boxs to sure up 18 months of failed and burden policies that have hurt Americans . The media have no shame and should be covering 300 deaths a day from drugs coming from our southern border yet are compelled to go full MAGA .

    1. It’s poison..not overdose and it is war. And when Wisconsin wins…the people with f 15s…. Will take this country back!

  3. Adolph Biden entered into a devil of a deal with the left. And he deserves all the barbs for his latest hate speech demonizing another political party with absolute lies and considerable amount of hate and lies. His whole staged scenario of blood red with black overtones and two “stormtrooper like” symbols flanking him whilst he carried on like Der Fuehrer in vomiting out falsehoods , slander and flat out bile. His machinations were absolute political kabuki theater of the absurd and downright insulting. This i snot the talk of a leader , a president. This is the talk of a divider , an authoritarian minded cog…nothing else short of that insanity. And the next day adolph biden casually backtracked like the event the night before was a dream. Maybe Biden et all had intel from their various uses of CIA tech that a judge was going to appoint a special master for their ill gotten trophies and put their crafted case in total jeopardy of which they expected no challenge and their way. Either way this is a huge nasty optic for this senile grifter to have hung on his neck , all by himself and his apparatchik handlers. History should not treat this complete oaf kindly.

    1. Exacting and what is in the empty ppouches! The missing sort pouches is how the wanted him to break the law. And he kept a copy!! So this will end up t nothing burger unless cannons master smells soething! But we all now that game is rigged too! E maybe it’s not and this is the end game…totally unlikely. So never give up your arms and never stop naming their als on them. They give pole als we can never forget.! Who who who Hayden never kilgore. ever . The boo of hereos. Boot strapped. Lol I know. The pin eye is on you!

    1. Awesome…things will roll now !. How the FBLie and Dept of “Just us” think they can squeeze a win out of this is beyond believable reality.

      1. RE:”Awesome…things will roll now..” It’s a nicely crafted opinion that value of which provides, for those who take the time to read it, an important chronology of events which were only available to the public as ‘they were in negotiations with the DOJ etc.” Now we know precisely what took place and that Biden had given the OK for the documents to be handed over to the FBI on 5/11/22, and that was delayed for a couple of days. It’s a must read.

  4. And to think we just had a memorandum go out in our command, week before last, on “Election Season” detailing the very prohibited activities Mr. Turley highlights.

  5. Rules and established customs mean nothing to Joe the PINO [President in Name Only]. He cancels agreements, spends trillions on canceling student loans [on which the suckers will pay federal tax], reads poorly whatever the anonymous staff has written for him, then totters out to the Philly lecturn on the arm of Jill, PhD.
    For this appalling state of the nation, let’s thank the Dumbocrats. The party “leaders” need to grow a set of nuts. Before Wilson became a candidate, the party leaders told him to ditch the mistress, which he did. The Dumbocrats can only endure this empty sack iif they’re personally profiting by his cardboard presence. The Constitution, established rules, and time honored procedures mean zip to these grifters.

    1. “then totters out to the Philly lecturn on the arm of Jill, PhD.”

      Not even a PhD. She has an utterly unimpressive EdD she got online so she could insist on being referred to as “Dr Jill” to seem more impressive than the lowclass skank she is.

  6. Lenin, who led the Russian Communist revolution, said, “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.”

    Make no mistake about it, J6 was a controlled opposition operation by the feds. There will be more ‘ops’ coming as we head into the elections.

  7. Hypocrisy is so amusing. Such grievance. At Trumps latest “speech” he had Air Force officers standing behind him.

    1. Your stupidity is amusing. Trump is not the President calling half the country evil with a Satanic background.

  8. Jonathan: You have called Biden’s speech in Philadelphia “divisive and inflammatory”. On Saturday at a rally in Pennsylvania Trump made Biden’s speech look mild in comparison. In addressing the FBI search of his residence Trump said: “The FBI and the Justice Department have become vicious monsters, controlled by radical left scoundrels lawyers and the media who tell them what to do…and when to do it”. That ‘s a clarion call for violence for the MAGA crowd–something Biden warned about in his speech. Trump knows how to inflame his followers and encourage violence. He did it on Jan. 6. And as a result of his “inflammatory” rhetoric against the FBI one of his followers attacked an FBI office in Cincinnati. The Q is when are you going to call out Trump for his incendiary rhetoric?

    1. You ask, When is the good professor “going to call out Trump for his incendiary rhetoric?”
      –Maybe at the same time when he calls you out on your many conclusory, dispositive statements.

    2. One of these men made a factual statement based on actual events. The other man offered an irrational rant of opinions based on hate and disregard for the Constituional laws that founded this nation. Hmmm…can you tell which man is who?

      1. RE:”Hmmm…can you tell which man is who?..” At this point, No!, in that each, in his own time has satisfied your criteria.. To coin a phrase…my political affiliation is ‘non-binary’. Back in the days of normalcy that would be ‘Independent’. I opine, judge, and vote the issues as I see them. With respect to your comment, you have articulated Biden’s dilemma, in that everything he uttered fits his harangue. Call it ‘Biden’s War Against the MAGA”. In another time and place there was another target. That mania cost the world 70 million souls and made of his nation excrement. NEVER AGAIN!!

    3. Dennis McIntyre, Lin, et al… the Paradox here is that no one considers DT’s rhetoric ‘inflammatory’ except those who lean far Left, like you…. It appears that most of DT’s ‘followers’ are just ordinary Americans and they become enlivened and energetic listening to him…. As an Independant, they have never seemed ‘inflammatory’ to me either… Watching on TV, when I heard DT say near the end of his WH speech 1/6: ‘..march to the Capitol peacefully and patriotically..’ his voice was calm and non-threatening, unlike JB’s recent divisive speech…….How on earth can you and Why do you always interpret such as ‘clarion calls for violence…???’

      1. eighteenth hole: Well, that’s the first time I’ve ever been accused of being “far left”– or even “left.” Perhaps you have misread the thread and the comment INDENTATIONS, as my comment clearly is not supporting Dennis McIntyre. Are you sure you are not referring to another person?

    4. That’s not a clarion call for violence. You hear apparently what you want to hear. However as to calls for violence I could shut down this blog with blatant examples from the left.

    1. Looks like the position they take while standing guard at White House entrances they cover. (Ref: 30-second Google search.

        1. Well, I’m not privy to the Drills, Regulations, Directives, and Manuals used by Marine Corps Barracks, Washington, but educated guess, I’m thinking they were operating via Standard Operating Procedure and using their judgement, training, and experience. They have been in the ceremonial game for a little bit. If you know otherwise, please share.

      1. Show me – they traditionally stand either at attention or Parade rest – not with the hands in front of them – unless they have a weapon on them – please share –

        1. Open your internet search engine of choice (I used Google)…type in Marine Corps White House Guards. Click on the images tab… voila. Photographic evidence.

  9. Biden is a poor man’s Nero declaring war on the citizenry to preserve his pathetic rule. He’ll get the fate of all tyrants and the citizenry will be just fine albeit a little singed. Biden’s June 9th can’t come soon enough.
    https://youtu.be/OIElChA-a0E

  10. It is rather freighting to think that the President is using the military to backup his speech. Does anyone in the WH understand the implications of this visual and then amplified with the words he used? Are we to assume that the military will endorses what he says? Is this a warning to the people? Isn’t this tyranny? Wake up WH and speech writers — we are still one nation united by the Constitution and allowed free speech. And Mr. Biden — you gave us a good example of tearing down our democracy!

    1. Karen says: “Does anyone in the WH understand the implications of this visual and then amplified with the words he used?”
      Of course they do, and they knew exactly what they were doing when they did it. It was no mistake. Professional Framing.

      The right question is; To whom is to credit this handy work?

        1. You need Proof, that the D-State is using the CIA’s Physiological Unit against the the People (YOU).
          I present to you the Presidents Speech in full as confirming evidence.

          And there You have it.

    2. Karen:

      “Does anyone in the WH understand the implications of this visual and then amplified with the words he used?”
      *********************
      Judging by that buffoon press secretary and her senile master, the people in the WH apparently see nothing … you know …like Sgt. Schultz.

    3. We are no longer united. We have nothing in common.

      There is no room in a Constitutional Republic for National Socialism or any other Marxism.

      You serve God or you serve the State.

    4. Dear Karen: were you “rather frightened” when the fat orange one you worship had peaceful protesters tear gassed, incluidng Episcopalian clergy and seminarians who were passing out water and snacks, so he could make his vainglory march from the White House (where he had been hding in a bunker) to St. John’s Episcopal Church, to pose with a Bible, accompanied by the United States Attorney General and General Milley? He had no less than 35 Secret Service members hiding in trees and behind bushes, too. They had to hide because media were mocking him for being a wussy and hiding in a bunker because he was afraid of protesters.

      You want a “good example of tearing down our democracy”? The one your worship and defend cheated to get into office with the help of Russia, lied about it, made all sorts of false accusations against honorable men like Robert Mueller who were trying to investigate the extent of Russia’s involvement to prevent it from happening again, refused to cooperate with the investigation, encouraged others not to cooperate, and then, when polls predicted he would lose once again, incited ain insurrection that led to; desecreation of our Capitol, with feces and urine being deposited by his supporters, John Lewis memorial being desecrated, and has lied about losing the election ever since. Unlike 44 predecessors, this one won’t shut up or go away and honor the choice of the American people because of his serious mental illness-malignant narcissism that compels him to seek attention and adulation. His arrogant need to be “right” compels him to keep on lying. The cherry on the cake is that after he was threatened with forcible eviction after losing the election, he STOLE classified government documents after being told he should NOT take them, kept them unsecured at his beach resort, lied about returning all of them, lied about “declassifying” them, and has politicized his theft of the documents and obstruction of justice, actually begging supporters for money, even though he is NOT a declared candidate. This means he can spend the money on whatever he wants to. We don’t know how many of these papers were copied, given to our adversaries, or displayed to guests just to show off. AND… you’re complaining about Joe Biden “tearing down our democracy”? What’s wrong with you anyway?

      1. “Dear Karen: were you “rather frightened” when the fat orange one you worship had peaceful protesters tear gassed, incluidng Episcopalian clergy and seminarians who were passing out water and snacks”
        Many people have testified on this. No Tear Gas was used to clear Lafayette park.
        The MPD on their own used Tear Gass in unrelated incidents several streets over – not Trump, not, Barr, not the park police.

        Those “peaceful protestors” had over the prior 24 hours committed numerous acts of arson, nearly busted down the whitehouse fence. thrown rocks and debris at the police – and AG Barr, and seriously damaged Laffeyette Park.

        “so he could make his vainglory march from the White House”
        Again the park was cleared because of the near breech of the Whitehouse shortly before.
        “(where he had been hiding in a bunker)” no he had been drug into a Bunker by the SS because of the “peaceful protests” that nearly breached the whitehouse fence.

        “to St. John’s Episcopal Church, to pose with a Bible, accompanied by the United States Attorney General and General Milley?”
        So lets put up a picture of Trump’s st. John’s event and Biden’s Reichstag speech and see which looks more like it came from V for Vendetta ?

        Biden’s speech was “two minutes of hate” right out of 1984.

        “He had no less than 35 Secret Service members hiding in trees and behind bushes, too.”
        Presidents have little control of the Secret Service – not Trump, not Biden.

        “They had to hide because media were mocking him for being a wussy and hiding in a bunker because he was afraid of protesters.”

        And yet according to YOUR claims Trump had to be fought off the stearing wheel to keep from driving himself to the J6 protests at the Capital.

        “You want a “good example of tearing down our democracy”?”
        Yes, I do.

        “The one your worship and defend cheated to get into office with the help of Russia, lied about it, made all sorts of false accusations against honorable men like Robert Mueller who were trying to investigate the extent of Russia’s involvement to prevent it from happening again, refused to cooperate with the investigation, encouraged others not to cooperate”
        All long ago debunked. There was no collusion with Russia – nor was there ever any credible basis to even investigate that. The Collusion Delusion was based on a political dirty trick/Hoax.
        Robert Mueller has never been honorable.
        Contra your claims Trump and other did cooperate – they cooperated with a corrupt and illegal investigation.

        “and then, when polls predicted he would lose once again”
        That is right – once again. Polls were wrong in 2016, and they were likely wrong in 2020

        “incited ain insurrection”
        Lexington and Concord were an insurrection. J6 was a protest that was unconstitutionally thwarted that turned into a small amount of violence – instigated by the CP.

        “desecreation of our Capitol”
        No more so than the Kavanaugh protests.
        You dis not seem to think overruning the capital was a big deal then,
        Or when democrats occupied state capitals on many many occasions – including recent efforts at the AZ capital this year.

        “with feces and urine being deposited by his supporters, John Lewis memorial being desecrated”
        All been debunked. No feces, no urine, no desecration.

        “and has lied about losing the election ever since.”
        Hillary is still lying.

        “Unlike 44 predecessors, this one won’t shut up or go away”
        You are not very familiar with US history. I would suggest looking at Theodore Roosevelt as a start.

        “and honor the choice of the American people because of his serious mental illness-malignant narcissism that compels him to seek attention and adulation. ”
        You do know the idiot psychologist that publicly diagnosed Trump has been removed from a progressive university and lost her law suit ?

        “His arrogant need to be “right” compels him to keep on lying.”
        Most of us do not care the slightest about your attempts to get into someone else’s head.

        We do not care What Trump’s or Biden’s or Clinton’s needs are.
        We care about their accomplishments.

      2. Natacha, as usual you lie like you breathe: heavily and continuously. Which one pays you anyway, Media Matters or CAP?

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