‘It made him look like a butler’: Retired general blasts President Obama for ordering U.S. Marine to break military rules by holding an umbrella
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This is a Reblogged from www.dailymail.co.uk
- The President unwittingly forced two U.S Marines to break protocol and regulations as he ordered them to use umbrellas
- Former United States Air Force Lieutenant Thomas McInerney criticized the President for making the officers look like butlers
- Came as he was assailed by questions over three scandals engulfing White House during Rose Garden press conference with Turkish Prime Minister
- Answered questions on Benghazi where no marines guarded ambassador Chris Stevens despite his repeated requests for better protection
President Obama humiliated the marine who he asked to hold his umbrella by making him ‘look like a butler’, a respected military general claimed today.
Thomas McInerney, a former United States Air Force Lieutenant General, said that the President showed a ‘lack of respect’ by making the soldier shelter him from a shower.
He also said that the President has plenty of aides so did not understand why one of them could not have held the umbrella.
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Hoping for a break in the storm: Obama faced a barrage of questions over three simultaneous scandals engulfing his administration
Broken Regulations: US Marines hold umbrellas during light rain for US President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
The President caused a stir when he summoned over two marines to keep him dry at a press conference in the Rose Garden.
The marines held an umbrella over the President and the Turkish Prime Minister individually as Obama made jokes about the weather.
However, for some the move was not a laughing matter particularly as it is a breach of protocol for marines to hold umbrellas while in uniform.
Lt Gen McInerney told MailOnline that he found it particularly insulting how the President at one point his his hand under the marine’s arm ‘like he wasn’t doing a good job or something’.
He 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.’
Lt Gen McInerney, 76, served in Vietnam and fought with NATO and was commander of the 11th Air Force in Alaska before retiring.
He said: ‘If I was his (the marine’s) commander…I’d say good job, you did what he wanted you to do but you can’t, really he has to keep his comments to himself because if you say anything you’re going to get in trouble.’
‘Any time a marine has said something…one general who spoke out, he got fired, he got canned from his job.’
Lt Gen McInerney also lashed out at the President for not doing enough to support soldiers when they return home from combat.’
He said: ‘The President talks a good line but he doesn’t follow a good line. These guys are coming home and they’re not getting what they are supposed to get.’
‘The guy’s (Obama) got to get real and he’s got to start doing stuff the right way and answering questions in the right manner, not changing subject in the middle of the interview.’
According to Marine Corps regulations, not even the President of the United States can request a Marine to carry an umbrella without the express permission of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
The Marine Corp Manual, which is the bible for all soldiers serving, specifically states that a soldier’s uniform dress code does not allow the carrying of an umbrella and ‘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.’
Indeed, male Marines are informed never to carry an umbrella from the earliest phases of training.
Regulation MCO P1020.34F of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations chapter 3, rules out any use or carrying of an umbrella while a Marine is in uniform.
However, 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.’
Insensitive? Many have questioned the President’s actions
Rule Breaker: President Barack Obama, center, watches a Marine remove the umbrella after it stopped raining during his joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Many commentators found the use of the marines to be particularly insensitive, given the President was answering questions on Benghazi.
The lack of marines protecting Ambassador Chris Stevens at the Libyan consulate and the failure to deploy marines to protect him amid the outbreak of violence has come under fire ever since last year’s attack on September 11.
Usually a marine guard would be in force at an overseas diplomatic compound but in Benghazi the government opted to use a private Libyan security team.
Stevens had made repeated appeals for improved security at the Libyan base but to no avail.
Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty were part of a CIA security team stationed a mile away who heard gunshots and intervened to try and help Stevens. They were also killed in an attack on their compound.
When violence broke out there were also delays sending in marines to assist.
A rapid response team were twice told to stand down amid the chaos while reports at the time said the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team was delayed because the state department ordered them to deplane and change into civilian clothing.
Answering questions on Benghazi, President Obama said the government was ‘ continuing to review our security at high-threat diplomatic posts’ in light of the attack.
At the press conference originally intended to be a victory lap for the United States’ relationship with Turkey, Obama stood alongside Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and fielded questions which quickly shifted to the trio of scandals that are engulfing his administration.
Critical: Thomas McInerney, a former United States Air Force Lieutenant General, said that the President showed a ‘lack of respect’
Admission: Obama admitted that the U.S. needs to ‘learn the lessons of Benghazi’ but he called it an ‘incident’ rather than a terror attack
He also dodged questions about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, and said ‘I offer no apologies’ for the Department of Justice’s secret seizure of reporter’s phone records in search of a classified intelligence leak.
He has been under growing pressure over these issues and Benghazi in recent weeks.
It has emerged that his State Department political appointees intervened in the aftermath of the 2012 terror attack, in a process that resulted in a misleading set of talking points which ignored terrorism in favor of a more muted explanation, in the midst of a re-election campaign.
Addressing the Benghazi fallout pre-emptively before Erdogan spoke, Obama said that ‘at my direction, we’ve been taking a series of steps that were recommended by the review board.’
He spoke of various measures he was recommending, to ‘learn the lessons of Benghazi.’ But he referred to the murders of four Americans there as an ‘incident,’ not a terror attack.
He said: ‘That’s why, at my direction, we’ve been taking a series of steps that were recommended by the review board after the incident. We’re continuing to review our security at high-threat diplomatic posts, including the size and nature of our presence; improving training for those headed to dangerous posts; increasing intelligence and warning capabilities.’
‘And I’ve directed the Defense Department to ensure that our military can respond lightning quick in times of crisis.’
And his remarks focused on ‘properly funding’ the State Department and Pentagon-run security at diplomatic posts, shifting the burden to Congress to ‘provide resources and new authorities so that we can implement all the recommendations of the Accountability Review Board which issued a report last month’.
He said: ‘We’re going to need Congress’s help in terms of increasing the number of our Marine Corps Guard who protect our embassies.
‘We’re not going to be able to do this alone,’ Obama said. ‘We need Congress.’
The review board is under fire for failing to interview high-level Obama administration figures, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Interviewing Clinton, Republicans on Capitol Hill have said, would have provided insights into who was accountable for lapses in security that left the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya vulnerable to attack.
The Tea Party Patriots and other conservative groups provided a powerful rallying force during the 2010 midterm elections. It was around the same time that the Obama administration’s IRS began targeting such groups that applied for tax-exempt nonprofit status
But despite Obama’s plea for more funding, money was not an issue in the months before the Benghazi attack when consular officials in Libya asked the State Department for more security forces.
Those requests were repeatedly denied, and neither Hillary Clinton nor other State Department officials have raised a lack of funding as the reason more special forces were not on the scene.
On the night of the Benghazi attack, the State Department refused to authorize an existing special forces team in the Libyan capital city of Tripoli to board a military C-130 plane headed to Benghazi, despite their readiness to intervene.
The Obama administration said later that the decision was made because the forces would not have arrived at the consulate, which was under attack, in time to make a difference.
The State Department has been silent on the question of how it knew how long the armed, military-style assault from Islamist terror groups would last.
Obama addressed the need to for ”increasing intelligence and warning capabilities’ at ‘diplomatic posts around the world,’ and asked Congress for money to ‘increase the Marine Corps contingents’ at State Department facilities.
On the IRS scandal, Obama said he knew nothing of what was going on.
‘My main concern is fixing a problem,’ Obama said.
‘It is just simply unacceptable for there to be even a hint of partisanship’ in the IRS.
Obama calls in marines to hold umbrellas
Barack Obama (R) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan hold a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden, but most of the focus was on three unfolding White House scandals
He also expressed ‘complete confidence’ in Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department deputies saw two months of phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors.
Holder has told Congress he recused himself from the investigation, but admitted Wednesday during a Capitol Hill hearing that he failed to put that recusal in writing.
The investigation centered on a secret CIA operation in Yemen that foiled a terror plot to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner.
AP were believed to have received a leak of information from a government source.
‘Leaks related to national security can put people at risk,’ Obama said.
‘I offer no apologies’ for putting a high premium on national security, he said, while also allowing that the First Amendment’s press freedoms are important to him philosophically.
Despite the wide range of topics up for discussion it is the umbrella incident which certainly captured chatter online.
A mock Twitter account was set up for the marine involved while numerous videos appeared online poking fun at the issue.
It doesn’t rain it…Air Force One Staff Sergeant Brian Barnett is pictured following behind the President with an umbrella as he boards Air Force One in 2011
Keeping dry: Many different individuals have held umbrellas for the commander in chief
Not singing in the rain: President Obama was pictured struggling with an umbrella himself in New Orleans in 2010 but he managed to laugh at himself moments later
It is not the first time Obama has struggled when it comes to keeping dry.
Often assistants are on hand to offer the President cover – be it leaving a car or embarking Air Force One.
On one occasion the President’s own struggles navigating an umbrella showed why.
He managed to smile for cameras in 2010 when he got in a muddle trying to get an umbrella over a fence.
He was trying to do the gentlemanly thing and protect wife, Michelle, from the rain.