(If you watch the USA Today video you can clearly see Trump turn to former president Obama and thank him for the graceful transition right as the doors behind him open and the soldiers come down the steps. They have no umbrellas in their hands. After getting new orders from anther officer, they turn, disorganized, and walk away. Turning their backs on the new president as they left.)
by Jerry White, WSWS
A strange and disturbing sequence took place behind President Donald Trump as he delivered his inaugural address Friday, which has gone virtually without comment in the news media.
Early in his address, ten military officers walked up and stood behind the president so they would prominently appear with Trump in the camera shots beamed across the US and the world. After 45 seconds, a Marine officer prompts the sailors and soldiers to leave, and they walk away.
The unusual incident prompted two comments during the New York Times live blog of the address. Jon Meacham, a presidential historian and the current executive editor at publisher Random House wrote, “The military guard behind him seems unusual; am I right?”
Maggie Haberman, the New York Times White House correspondent, responded, “Yes, and they have dispersed, but was it because it was raining?”
Meacham is presumably a well-informed commentator on inaugural protocol, having written a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Andrew Jackson in 2009 and a 2012 biography of Thomas Jefferson. However, the Times, the Washington Post and other major dailies and news networks never commented on the event further. The only mention of it was in the celebrity gossip web site TMZ and in the Daily Mail in the United Kingdom.
The innocent explanation about protecting the president and his guests from the light drizzle does not seem credible. While the first Air Force officer comes down with an umbrella in hand at 1:00 into the speech, the other officers who appear 16 seconds later have nothing in their hands. What happens next was not seen by most viewers because most networks cut away from Trump to view former President Obama nod approvingly as Trump praises Barack and Michelle Obama for “their gracious aid during this transition.”
However, a more distant camera shot available on the web site of USA Today provides more detail. At one minute and 16 seconds into the speech, Trump turns around, at which point two marine sentries behind him open the doors of the west side of the capitol building to allow the group of 10 officers to walk down the steps to stand directly behind Trump.
The group, consisting of mostly junior officers along with captains and higher-ranking officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, appeared just as Trump was saying, “Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another—but we are transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to you, the American People.”
“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.”
At that point, the Marine officer tells the officers to disperse.
[read more here]