From the same unhinged hysterics who brought you “Obama is a Muslim atheist terrorist traitor for having a Marine hold an umbrella for him” (but not all the Republican presidents who did the same thing, of course), gaze in wonder as the wingnuts throw a hissy fit over the president not saluting a Marine when he boarded Marine One last week. Breitbart clutches its collective pearls. Michelle Malkin gets her daily case of the vapors. Unfortunately, virtually every mainstream news agency followed suit as if this were actually news. It’s not. Reuters handled this years ago:
Longstanding tradition requires members of the military to salute the president. The practice of presidents returning that salute is more recent — Ronald Reagan started it in 1981.
Reagan’s decision raised eyebrows at the time. Dwight Eisenhower, a former five-star general, did not return military salutes while president. Nor had other presidents.John Kline, then Reagan’s military aide and now a Minnesota congressman, advised him that it went against military protocol for presidents to return salutes.
Kline said in a 2004 op-ed piece in The Hill that Reagan ultimately took up the issue with Gen. Robert Barrow, then commandant of the Marine Corps.
Barrow told Reagan that as commander in chief of the armed forces, he was entitled to offer a salute — or any sign of respect he wished — to anyone he wished, Kline wrote, adding he was glad for the change.
But even if this wasn’t the case, who cares? Seriously, I just don’t understand people who flip out over such irrelevant nonsense. I just don’t. If you care more about such trivial bullshit as who can salute whom than you do about actual decisions to send people to die in a war, you’re seriously fucked in the head.