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One More ‘Scandal’ Just Might Do It — Obama’s Umbrellagate

May 17, 2013

Yesterday the President held a press conference with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. There was a light rain. A Marine Corps corporal held an umbrella over the Commander-in-Chief.


For most of us, this would pass unnoticed, except perhaps to wonder why they didn’t just move the presser indoors. But the good folks over at Tucker Carlson’s bastion of jounrnamalism,  The Daily Caller, discovered a dark side to this otherwise innocuous event.

Obama breaches Marine umbrella protocol

According to Marine Corps regulation MCO P1020.34F of the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations chapter 3, a male Marine is not allowed to carry an umbrella while in uniform. There is no provision in the Marine Corps uniform regulation guidelines that allows a male Marine to carry an umbrella.


Not even the President of the United States can request a Marine to carry an umbrella without the express consent of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, according to the Marine Corps Manual.

Uh huh. Two things:

  1. The regulation doesn’t expressly state that “not even the President” can ask a Marine to carry an umbrella.  It generally states elsewhere in the manual that no officer or official can order a Marine to go against the rules in the Marine Corps Manual. 
  2. There’s a big difference between carrying an umbrella in violation of the Marine Corps dress code and holding an umbrella as a tool in the course of your service (for instance, to serve and protect the President.)

But also, who the flip cares? Well, it would seem an awful lot of visitors to the Caller’s site. At present, the story has been tweeted 1,213 times, received over 42,000 Facebook likes, and has 1,710 comments. How many of these ‘likes’ and tweets are ironic is unknown, but the majority are surely from true-believers in the caricature of Obama as an evil despot with little regard for our men in uniform, let alone respect for our august military institutions.

But what is most amazing about this whole thing is that if that Marine Corps corporal had been female, this story wouldn’t exist.

3035. UMBRELLAS (Female Marines). 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. (Marine Corps Uniform Regulations)

That’s right. Only female Marines are permitted to carry umbrellas with their uniforms. Nothing like equality of the sexes in the Military, eh?

UPDATE: Not worth a separate post, but amusing enough to tag on here — Sarah Palin chimed in on the emerging Umbrellagate scandal on her Facebook.

“Mr. President, when it rains it pours, but most Americans hold their own umbrellas.”

Sarah Palin's Own Umbrellagate?

The Washington Post quickly posted this image in response to Palin’s jab.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 21, 2013 8:20 pm

    Reblogged this on Leaning Left and commented:

    This “scandal” says more about right-wing hysteria and ridiculous sexism in the Military than anything.

  2. May 17, 2013 6:36 pm

    Wow. Well, since this is apparently news, I must now surmise that all war, poverty, and violence has been solved overnight when I wasn’t looking. We now live in a utopia of equality and peace, and now have nothing better to do with our time than nitpick Marine Corps regulations. Sweet!

    …what? World is still full of war, poverty and violence?


    Funny thing is, when I saw the picture, my first thought was: Hey, that Marine is trying to be a nice guy by holding open an umbrella for someone else when it’s raining. You know. Like polite, higher-functioning adults do. That’s really kind of him.

    But I suppose when you hate someone for reasons you either can’t or won’t admit to the general populace…you have to look for any little thing you can in order to discredit them.

    Good job, America.

  3. May 17, 2013 3:15 pm

    I’m not a military uniform expert, but it seems to me that as commander-in-chief of all military forces, Obama at least has the authority to ask a Marine to open an umbrella.

    • May 17, 2013 3:27 pm

      Yes, it does seem as though he’d out-rank the Commandant of the Marine Corps. And would the Commandant really take issue with this? Just another non-issue.

  4. May 17, 2013 12:17 pm

    Reblogged this on FEMBORG.

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