Military scholars are criticizing the “conscious decision” of featuring US Marines in what has been deemed by many as one of the most divisive presidential speeches in recent memory.
The criticism, which is bipartisan in nature, involves the now heavily-memed speech by President Joe Biden, who publicly denounced “MAGA”-types as a “threat” to the American way of life.
“Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” Biden said in his Philadelphia speech.
The Washington Post revealed that an anonymous White House official had informed them that there was a “conscious decision” to feature the Marines during Biden’s speech- “for symbolism.”
“The President gave an important speech last night about our democracy and our values, values that our men and women in uniform fight every day to protect,” the official wrote in a statement. “The presence of Marines at the speech was intended to demonstrate the deep and abiding respect the President has for their service to these ideals and the unique role our independent military plays in defending our democracy, no matter which party is in power.”
This ran afoul of many, including military scholars, lawmakers and the citizenry at large.
“Presidents have long used US troops and military hardware as they address the American people,” wrote Washington Post reporter Dan Lamothe. “But military officials often have sought to narrow how people in uniform are pulled into the political spotlight, adhering to the belief that the military is an institution that protects all Americans regardless of political affiliation.”
“In this case, the choice to literally keep the Marines guards in the frame was an unfortunate one,” added Duke University Professor Peter Feaver, who had previously been publicly critical of President Donald Trump.
Lamothe also noted that Naval War College scholar Lindsay Cohn “said that Biden being framed by Marines during the speech was ‘not a crisis, but it could and should have been avoided’ … she added that the Biden administration needs to be ‘oversensitive and cautious about optics to try to strengthen some of the norms’ that the Trump administration weakened.”
In 2020, then-presidential candidate Biden had claimed he would never involve troops “in the middle of politics or personal vendettas.”
According to Fox News, the criticism on the former administration was not lost, however- Lamothe noted that federal forces had been used under Trump in 2020.
“In June 2020, he sought for days to use active-duty U.S. troops to quell protests prompted by the police killing of George Floyd, alarming senior Pentagon officials who saw his plans as an abuse of power. At the height of the crisis, federal forces cleared protesters from Lafayette Square outside of the White House before Trump led other senior U.S. officials to a nearby church for a photo opportunity,” Lamothe wrote.
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