The United States Marine Corps fired back at The Washington Post’s Greg Miller over his suggestion that Marine One was used to “whip up” attendees at a campaign rally for President Donald Trump.
The exchange began with a tweet from the president that showed a comparison between his arrival —aboard Marine One — at a recent rally and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s arrival at a campaign event in Georgia. (RELATED: No Ceremony, No Band, No ‘OORAH’: Veterans’ Cemetery Passes Eerily Quiet Memorial Day)
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2020
Miller responded to the comparison by suggesting that Marine One had been used to stir up the crowd — or spread COVID-19 — as they waited to see Trump speak.
“Is Marine One really swooping over rally crowds to whip up supporters of the president? (Or is this a new way to disperse covid droplets?),” Miller tweeted.
Is Marine One really swooping over rally crowds to whip up supporters of the president?
(Or is this a new way to disperse covid droplets?) https://t.co/hvKbtIl1VZ
— Greg Miller (@gregpmiller) October 28, 2020
The Hill shared a similar story, although without the suggestion that the low-flying helicopter would spread the coronavirus. Instead, the article focused on whether or not the use of Marine One violated military ethics regulations.
— The Hill (@thehill) October 29, 2020
The Hill reported:
Department of Defense (DOD) policy prohibits military members from participating in campaign activities such as volunteering for a candidate, attending a rally or appearing in materials while in uniform, though they are allowed to do so off duty.
Performing their assigned duties, however, such as transporting the President of the United States, is not considered to be a campaign activity.
The official Twitter account for the U.S. Marines Corps responded to both Miller and The Hill with the same comment: “The flight did not fly over (or hover over) the assembled crowd. The entire flight was conducted in accordance with @USNavy and Marine Corps regulations, operating procedures and safety protocols. Marine One landed a safe distance from the crowd.”
The flight did not fly over (or hover over) the assembled crowd. The entire flight was conducted in accordance with @USNavy and Marine Corps regulations, operating procedures and safety protocols. Marine One landed a safe distance from the crowd.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) October 29, 2020
USMC spokesman Capt. Joseph Butterfield confirmed that the video was taken when Marine One transported the president from Ocala International Airport to a campaign event at The Villages on October 23. Adding that the camera angle in the video did not “fully capture” the fact that the pilots landed a safe distance away from the crowd, Butterfield said that no further investigation into the matter would be necessary.