Trump critics have always argued that the troops wearing MAGA hats are politicizing the military and violating military rules. Defense Secretary Mark Esper now gives them the answer. During his first interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Esper declined to ban MAGA hats.
When asked by the correspondent if he would ban the wearing of MAGA hats or other ways politics had entered the force, Esper responded, “We don’t politicize the force whether it’s buttons or hats or whatever the case may be. Political items should not be worn on a military uniform ever.”
Troops who have expressed support for the president have come under attack by those naysayers.
In a specific case, some media and Trump critics argued that the airmen that held MAGA hats and a banner to greet President Trump during his surprise trip to Iraq in Christmas 2018 in Germany should be punished for violating military rules that prohibit taking part in partisan political activities while in uniform.
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) December 27, 2018
Responding to the outrage, U.S. Air Forces Europe said in a statement, “There is no rule against Airmen bringing personal items to be signed by the president.”
Some critics argued it was a violation since Trump was expected to be a candidate in 2020, or because “MAGA” was a campaign slogan.
Can we compare it to when candidate Barack Obama stopped in Kuwait and signed magazine covers and other memorabilia for troops in uniform? There was no similar uproar back then. Can we call it preferential treatment?