President and Melania Trump made a four-day state visit to Japan this week and at the USS Wasp, some military members wore patches with the slogan and a cartoon image of the president. At the naval event, President Trump reportedly autographed copies of the Bible and said he was jealous of his wife’s media attention. “You've been really the talk of Japan,” he said to Melania.
CNN reported that military members sometimes wear light-hearted patches for morale, but political messages are banned by the Department of Defense (DoD), with commanders responsible for enforcing the rules.
According to the DoD’s Standard of Conduct Office, “…Per longstanding DoD policy, 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.”
When President Trump delivered a Memorial Day speech to sailors and Marines, some wore patches with a likeness of Trump and the words “Make Aircrew Great Again." Images of the patches went viral, and the Navy soon found itself with a hornet’s nest. https://t.co/QUslnFRedp— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 29, 2019
Cmdr. Nate Christensen, deputy spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “Navy leadership is currently reviewing this incident to ensure that the wearing of the patch does not violate DoD policy or regulations. Use of the patch has been discontinued until an investigation has been completed. All Sailors are held to high standards in their personal and professional conduct.”
Mark Hertling, an award-winning, 40-year Army veteran, tweeted that the patches were “inappropriate.”
Many commenting on patches worn by a few sailors during POTUS visit. They’re inappropriate & against regulation.— Mark Hertling (@MarkHertling) May 28, 2019
I’m more concerned about disjointed comments on nK missiles & the defense of allies, and poor communication regarding national security strategy and policies.
According to the military website Stars and Stripes, the same patches were worn in July 2018 by a helicopter crew at Barking Sands Missile Range in Hawaii and in 2017 by a sailor in a Twitter post.
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