CNN is under fire by White House officials after publishing a story speculating a violation of Department of Defense rules during President Donald Trump’s surprise trip to visit U.S. military troops in Iraq, the Hill reported.
As previously noted by the Inquisitr, an article published by the news network on Wednesday, December 26, cited a rule set by the Department of Defense’s Standards of Conduct Office that prohibits active duty personnel from engaging in “partisan political activities,” and suggests that all military personnel should “avoid the inference” that political activities imply DOD sponsorship of a particular candidate.
The article stated that troops may be found in violation of this rule after reports and video footage showed that service members had the president autograph his signature “Make America Great Again” hats that became popular during his 2016 presidential campaign, and now don an embroidered patch reading “Trump 2020,” promoting a run for re-election in two years.
Fast forward to Thursday, December 27, when White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders slammed the network for their report, which she labeled an “attack” in a statement on Twitter.
“CNN will attack anyone who supports President Trump, including the brave men and women of our military who fight everyday to protect our freedom,” Sanders wrote on Thursday afternoon.
Sanders was only one of a number of people that took to social media to express their frustration over the network’s article.
“These people are risking their lives for this country and your right to write dumb crap like this,” a Twitter user wrote. “There is nothing wrong with them being excited about a Presidential visit. Trying to get them in trouble for it is pathetic.”
Almost 24 hours later, @CNN is still jabbing troops for having MAGA stuff and showing them to Trump. Sure, the military can discipline them or whatever they want, but that's not for the media to do.— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) December 27, 2018
“When you’ve run out of dumb anti-Trump stories to write this happens,” wrote podcast host Dan Bongino, who continued his tweet by sharing the title of the original article “Troops bringing Trump hats to sign may violate military rule.”
Other users, Fox News noted, were quick to point out that former President Obama and former first lady Michelle, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden all signed autographs during visits to military bases.
Absolutely. I had @BarackObama and @JoeBiden at my base and my troops got autographs on all kinds of things, including campaign memorabilia. Never crossed my mind to question there actions because I didn’t need to, dammit.— Col. Rob Maness ret. (@RobManess) December 27, 2018
The original CNN article has since been updated and undergone a title change, now reporting that Sanders has said the “MAGA” hats were personal belongings of the troops in both Iraq and Germany where the president visited, and were not distributed by the White House.
Military officials have also stated that the signing was not part of a campaign event, nor were they a statement of political support, but rather support for Trump. According to U.S. Air Force Europe spokesperson Captain Christopher Bowyer-Meeder, no policy violations have been brought to the military’s attention as of yet.