As TheBlaze blog pointed out yesterday -- and many other stories covering President Barack Obama's press conference outside the White House showed -- the Commander in Chief called in Marines to hold umbrellas over him and the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as it began to rain during an outdoor press conference.
But now the Internet is starting to buzz with an interesting angle: Was it actually out of Marine uniform protocol for the Marines to hold the weather-shielding items?
A US Marine holds an umbrella for US President Barack Obama during a brief rain shower as he hold a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, May 16, 2013. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
"...[W]hy don't we get a couple Marines -- they're going to look good next to us -- just 'cause I've got a change of suit but I don't know about, uh, our prime minister," Obama said, requesting the umbrellas while he answered questions regarding the IRS scandal.
Some are pointing to the Chapter 3 of the MCO P1020.34F of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations, which states:
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. Umbrellas may not be used/carried in formation nor will they be carried with the utility uniform.
As can be noted here, female Marines are permitted to carry umbrellas while in service or dress uniforms. The Marines pictured holding umbrellas are in dress uniforms, but they are males and the Marine holding one above Obama is using his right hand.
That seems pretty clear. But is there a caveat? Meaning: Would the president's request supersede military uniform protocol rules?
The manual states that a commander "may interpret the provisions of this Manual to address specific concerns whenever necessary." A commander in the manual is defined as Marine officers titled as "Commanding General, Commanding Officer, Director, Officer in Charge or Inspector-Instructor."
"Exceptions to this Manual are only granted in writing by the Commandant of the Marine Corps (Marine Corps Uniform Board)," it states.
TheBlaze contacted the the Marines' and was also referred to Title 10 responsibilities of the United States Code, specifically this portion of the section (emphasis added):
The Marine Corps, within the Department of the Navy, shall be so organized as to include not less than three combat divisions and three air wings, and such other land combat, aviation, and other services as may be organic therein. The Marine Corps shall be organized, trained, and equipped to provide fleet marine forces of combined arms, together with supporting air components, for service with the fleet in the seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and for the conduct of such land operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign. In addition, the Marine Corps shall provide detachments and organizations for service on armed vessels of the Navy, shall provide security detachments for the protection of naval property at naval stations and bases, and shall perform such other duties as the President may direct. However, these additional duties may not detract from or interfere with the operations for which the Marine Corps is primarily organized.
Given that the president is defined as the Commander in Chief "of the Army and Navy of the United States..." by the Constitution and that fact that the Marines' dress code protocol says "the Commandant or higher authority" can authorize "articles that are not authorized for wear as a part of a regulation uniform," is the president considered a commander with this ability?
The spokesperson for the Marines said "certainly."
Watch Obama request the umbrellas to the laughter -- and some applause -- of those present:
(H/T: Daily Mail)