It hasn’t even been 24 hours since President Donald Trump returned from his surprise political stunt in Iraq, and already his dedicated MAGA chowderheads are foaming at the mouth over the absolute dumbest controversy imaginable. Namely: Is it or is it not good and fine for U.S. armed service members to break Pentagon rules by having our noodle-brained president sign their silly red hats?
It all started when CNN published a story on Wednesday looking into the issue. “It is in fact a campaign slogan, that is a campaign item, and it is completely inappropriate for the troops to do this,” CNN analyst and former Obama State Department spokesman retired Rear Adm. John Kirby said. “Every time he’s around military audiences, he tends to politicize it, and he brings in complaints and grievances from outside the realm of military policy.”
According to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, however, it’s fine!
In Sanders and Johnson’s world, CNN is a bunch of bad meanies for accurately reporting that soldiers may have violated Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, which is described by the DOD as mandating that (emphasis mine):
Active duty personnel may not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval, or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign, or cause. Members on active duty may not campaign for a partisan candidate, engage in partisan fundraising activities, serve as an officer of a partisan club, or speak before a partisan gathering. Active duty members may, however, express their personal opinions on political candidates and issues, make monetary contributions to a political campaign or organization, and attend political events as a spectator when not in uniform.
“But Rafi?” you might say. “All they did was ask the president to sign a MAGA hat!”
As the DOD points out, the civilian equivalent of the directive is a Hatch Act violation, in which a government official uses their office to engage in “an activity directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office or partisan political group.” And, as it turns out, Trump’s own Justice Department has already ruled that administration employees broke the law by pushing out—you guessed it!—MAGA messaging.
So, yeah, it sure seems like a rule was broken, although it’s up to the Pentagon itself to determine just how bad the violation really is. Maybe it’s just me, but the White House being extremely cool with active duty soldiers apparently violating DoD rules just so they could promote Trump is not so great, right?
In any event, a media outlet did some journalism and a bunch of whiny right-wing babies shit their pants. Rinse, repeat.