Saturday, May 18, 2013

Umbrella Umbrage

A few days ago, Mr. Gillette posted about a sort of strange photograph taken of a Marine holding an umbrella for President Obama during an outdoor press conference. Mr. Gillette mused:
[T]he first thing I thought when I saw the picture was, why do they use a member of
the United States Marine Corps to hold an umbrella over the President?  I'm reasonably confident that the President himself doesn't decide who holds an umbrella for him.  I wonder how it was determined that umbrellas should be held by members of Marines?
It turns out, however, that the President does indeed choose his own umbrelladiers. The Washington Post reports:
Slogging through a drizzly Rose Garden news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Obama took a break to ask for some rain protection.
“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 — just because I’ve got a change of suits but I don’t know about our prime minister,” he said as two Marines appeared at the lecterns with umbrellas. “There we go. That’s good.” He gestured to the soggy press corps, adding, “You guys I’m sorry about.”
According to the Post, conservatives are unhappy about the President's little joke. For example, Lou Dobbs tweeted:
There also appears to have been a breach of protocol because apparently male Marines are not allowed to carry umbrellas. That said, title 10 of the U.S. Code also states that Marines are to "perform such other duties as the President may direct." So perhaps the conscription into umbrella duty was an appropriate exercise of executive power after all.

The Gillette-Torvik Blog will continue to cover this breaking story, which I've code-named "Umbroglio."

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