White House Addresses Backlash To Using Marines As Political Props During Biden’s Speech

Screenshot YouTube, Grabien, White House Press Briefing 9/2/22

Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended the administration’s decision to have Marines behind President Joe Biden during his speech on Thursday evening, telling reporters Friday that it is a “normal” occurrence.

Biden gave a primetime speech in Philadelphia on Thursday evening, attacking “MAGA Republicans” and arguing that they “represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.” The political speech faced backlash afterwards, in part, because the administration placed two Marines in the background as Biden spoke, Fox News reported.

“The president gave an important speech last night, a critical speech at an inflection point and, you know, our democracy, our values, are values that … our men and women who protect us every day and fight for it every day believe in as well. The presence of the Marines at the speech was intended to demonstrate the deep and abiding respect the president has for these service members, to these ideals and the unique role our independent military plays in defending our democracy no matter which party is in power,” Jean-Pierre said after being pressed to address the backlash.

“And it is not abnormal. It is actually normal for president’s from either side of the aisle to give speeches in front of members of the military,” she continued. “It is not an unusual sight, or is not an unusual event to have happen.”


Allison Jaslow, an Iraq War veteran and former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told CNN after Biden’s speech that the U.S. military needs to be “as removed from politics as possible.” Jaslow added that “none of our politicians or elected leaders should do” what Biden did. (RELATED: McCabe Says Biden Wasn’t Forceful Enough In Speech Bashing Republicans)

CNN’s Brianna Keilar also criticized the move, tweeting that “positioning Marines in uniform behind President Biden for a political speech flies in the face of” the concept of an apolitical military. “It’s wrong when Democrats do it. It’s wrong when Republicans do it,” she wrote.

Jean-Pierre also pushed back on characterization that Biden’s speech seemed to be politically charged, telling reporters on Friday that “standing up for democracy is not political.”

“Denouncing political violence is not political,” Jean-Pierre said. “Defending rights and freedom is not political, making clear that the challenges facing the nation is not political. We don’t call any of that political, we see that as leadership, and we see that as presidential.”