Even though he is the commander in chief, there are some orders that even President Obama cannot give – as he found out today, much to the chagrin of a put-upon U.S. Marine.
Hosting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Rose Garden today, the president requested a standing Marine to open an umbrella and protect his head from the light rain that was falling.
However, according to Marine Corps regulations, not even the President of the United States can request a Marine to carry an umbrella without the express permission of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
The Marine Corp Manual, which is the bible for all soldiers serving, specifically states that a soldier’s uniform dress code does not allow the carrying of an umbrella and ‘no officer or official shall issue instructions which conflict with, alter, or amend any provision without the approval of the Commandant of the Marine Corps.’
Indeed, male Marines are informed never to carry an umbrella from the earliest phases of training.
Regulation MCO P1020.34F of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations chapter 3, rules out any use or carrying of an umbrella while a Marine is in uniform.
However, 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.’
During the press conference, President Barack Obama dodged questions about the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, shifted responsibility for the Benghazi attack to Congress, and said ‘I offer no apologies’ for the Department of Justice’s secret seizure of reporter’s phone records in search of a classified intelligence leak.
In a rain-soaked Rose Garden press conference originally intended to be a victory lap for the United States’ relationship with Turkey, Obama stood alongside Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and fielded questions which quickly shifted to the trio of scandals that are engulfing his administration.
Beginning in 2010, Obama’s IRS targeted a list of approximately 300 tea party-related and other conservative groups for aggressive scrutiny following their applications for tax-exempt status.
Broken Regulations: US Marines hold umbrellas during light rain for US President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a joint news conference today.
His Department of Justice secretly spied on the Associated Press’s phone records in an attempt to trace a national security leak.
And his State Department political appointees intervened in the aftermath of the 2012 terror attack on an American diplomatic outpost in Libya, in a process that resulted in a misleading set of talking points which ignored terrorism in favor of a more muted explanation, in the midst of a re-election campaign.
On the IRS scandal, Obama wouldn’t commit to saying no one at the White House knew about the targeting of conservative groups before the White House Counsel was informed just days ago.
‘I certainly did not know anything about the IG report before the IG report was leaked to the press,’ he said, without addressing the question of whether any of his political appointees in the West Wing of the White House were aware that the IRS was playing political favorites.
He also did not address information outside what the IRS Inspector General reported.
‘My main concern is fixing a problem,’ Obama said.
‘It is just simply unacceptable for there to be even a hint of partisanship’ in the IRS.
But he suggested that IRS employees may simply not have had sufficient ‘guidance’ on the fair fulfillment of their duties.
The IRS Inspector General’s report detailed the actions of a handful of IRS employees in Cincinnati, Ohio, but did not find any upper-level managers or political appointees responsible.
MailOnline reported exclusively on Wednesday that some of the targeted tea party groups received lengthy written inquisitions from other IRS offices, including the Washington, D.C. headquarters and two offices in California.
The Tea Party Patriots and other conservative groups provided a powerful rallying force during the 2010 midterm elections. It was around the same time that the Obama administration’s IRS began targeting such groups that applied for tax-exempt nonprofit status.
Addressing the Benghazi fallout pre-emptively before Erdogan spoke, Obama said that ‘at my direction, we’ve been taking a series of steps that were recommended by the review board.’
He spoke of various measures he was recommending, to ‘learn the lessons of Benghazi.’ But he referred to the murders of four Americans there as an ‘incident,’ not a terror attack.
He said: ‘That’s why, at my direction, we’ve been taking a series of steps that were recommended by the review board after the incident. We’re continuing to review our security at high-threat diplomatic posts, including the size and nature of our presence; improving training for those headed to dangerous posts; increasing intelligence and warning capabilities.
‘And I’ve directed the Defense Department to ensure that our military can respond lightning quick in times of crisis.
And his remarks focused on ‘properly funding’ the State Department and Pentagon-run security at diplomatic posts, shifting the burden to Congress to ‘provide resources and new authorities so that we can implement all the recommendations of the Accountability Review Board which issued a report last month.
He said: ‘We’re going to need Congress’s help in terms of increasing the number of our Marine Corps Guard who protect our embassies.
‘We’re not going to be able to do this alone,’ Obama said. ‘We need Congress.’
The review board is under fire for failing to interview high-level Obama administration figures, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Interviewing Clinton, Republicans on Capitol Hill have said, would have provided insights into who was accountable for lapses in security that left the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya vulnerable to attack.
Barack Obama (R) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan hold a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden, but most of the focus was on three unfolding White House scandals
Islamist terrorists attacked the consulate on Sept. 11, 2012, killing U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other U.S. personnel.
But despite Obama’s plea for more funding, money was not an issue in the months before the Benghazi attack when consular officials in Libya asked the State Department for more security forces.
Those requests were repeatedly denied, and neither Hillary Clinton nor other State Department officials have raised a lack of funding as the reason more special forces were not on the scene.
On the night of the Benghazi attack, the State Department refused to authorize an existing special forces team in the Libyan capital city of Tripoli to board a military C-130 plane headed to Benghazi, despite their readiness to intervene.
Wearing thin? Obama passed the buck for Behgazi security to Congress and dodged a question about whether his political appointees knew about the IRS’s actions
The Obama administration said later that the decision was made because the forces would not have arrived at the consulate, which was under attack, in time to make a difference.
The State Department has been silent on the question of how it knew how long the armed, military-style assault from Islamist terror groups would last.
Obama addressed the need to for ”increasing intelligence and warning capabilities’ at ‘diplomatic posts around the world,’ and asked Congress for money to ‘increase the Marine Corps contingents’ at State Department facilities.
He also said he wanted additional funding to equip the Department of Defense to respond lightning-quick in times of crisis.
Obama expressed ‘complete confidence’ in Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department deputies saw two months of phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors.
Holder has told Congress he recused himself from the investigation, but admitted Wednesday during a Capitol Hill hearing that he failed to put that recusal in writing.
The investigation centered on a secret CIA operation in Yemen that foiled a terror plot to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner.
‘Leaks related to national security can put people at risk,’ Obama said, citing ‘men and women in uniform’ and ‘intelligence officers.’
‘U.S. national security is dependent on those folks being able to operate with confidence that folks back home have their backs.’
‘I offer no apologies’ for putting a high premium on national security, he said, while also allowing that the First Amendment’s press freedoms are important to him philosophically.
The Obama administration has seemed to support Eric Holder’s Justice Department in its move to obtain phone records from reporters without notifying them, as federal regulations require. But at the same time, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced Wednesday that Obama supported the re-introduction of previously failed legislation that would shield journalists from future government intrusions.
A brutal civil war in neighboring Syria was the focus of the president’s meeting with Erdogan. His country is home to more than 400,000 refugees from Syria, and the suddenly strategic importance of Turkey to American interests in the Middle East has put Erdogan front and center.
But the barrage of questions from a hostile media – in a press event that began more than 45 minutes late – quickly turned to the scandals.
House Speaker John Boehner has asked openly about who in the administration ‘is going to jail’ over the IRS malfeasance. Obama asked for, and received, the resignation of acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller on Wednesday. But as MailOnline was first to report, Miller’s term was set to expire in early June, and his farewell message to IRS employees underscored that he was merely departing earlier than was already planned.
Steven Miller, then-acting IRS Commissioner, sent a farewell message to employees shortly after President Obama announced his resignation. The email, however, said he was already scheduled to leave in early June
Obama emphasized U.S. involvement in delivering ‘food, shelter and medicine that is needed to save lives’ as Turkey shields Syrian refugees.
He also emphasized the need for a Syrian future without its current dictator.
‘We both agree that Bashar as-Assad needs to go,’ Obama said, referring to Erdogan standing beside him.
And in a press release, the White House touted its economic partnership with Turkey, which dates from 2009.
‘In the last four years, U.S.-Turkish commercial relations have touched new highs,’ the White House said. ‘[B]ilateral trade reached record levels of nearly $20 billion in 2011, with U.S. FDI [foreign direct investment] in Turkey of over $5 billion and Turkish FDI in the United States of nearly $1 billion.’
‘Given our shared interest in peace, I want to note the prime minister’s efforts to normalize [Turkey's] relations with Israel,’ said Obama in the Rose Garden.
The president promised to ‘keep deepening our economic ties with Turkey … to keep fueling Turkish innovation.’
‘The prime minister deserves credit for some of the reforms that have already taken place,’ he said.
Prime Minister Erdogan has seen increasing protests in Turkey from Muslims angry about his positions against the autocratic regime in neighboring Syria. On Thursday demonstrators clashed with riot police in Istanbul