(It was originally reported that the Marine behind the “Chicano Marine” Twitter account is on active-duty, but according to him, he is no longer in the Marine Corps)
A Marine has built a large Twitter following of people in opposition to the president through his unfiltered and unbecoming political messages in opposition to the current president.
The Marine, who refers to himself as Chicano Marine on Twitter, describes himself as a husband, father, and a Marine with “center-left politics.”
“You may not always like it, but expect only my honest opinions,” he says.
While the Marine Corps specifically encourages Marines to participate as citizens in the political process it clearly prohibits using their “official authority or influence for interfering with an election; affecting the course or outcome of an election.”
“This mothaf****er [Trump] actually said he has “Great and Unmatched Wisdom “!!! He’s f***ing delusional and you dumb fucking MAGAts are eating that shit up like it’s biscuits and gravy in the morning,” he recently wrote on Twitter.
Many drill sergeants and instructors have told their recruits very early on in boot camp, “we’re here to defend democracy–not to practice it.”
When a military member is wearing the uniform, that military member has essentially signed away his First Amendment rights granted by the Constitution.
In the digital age, this can include a person who has built a social media persona based on their service.
Article 88 of the UCMJ states:
“Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
According to Dean G. Falvy, a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, “Congress intentionally chose to narrow the prior version of Article 88, which had covered all soldiers, in order to ensure that it applied to officers but not enlisted personnel.”
“There was probably a recognition that earlier versions of Article 88 had overreached in punishing the views of rank and file soldiers,” Falvy wrote. “While serving in previous conflicts, dozens of enlisted men were court-martialed for expressing mildly derogatory views about Presidents Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt, even in private conversation and correspondence.”
Falvy cites a number of military officers facing disciplinary action after drawing attention to deficiencies in President Clinton’s moral character leading up to his impeachment.
“For example, Maj. Gen. Harold Campbell was compelled to retire after referring, no doubt affectionately, to the “gay-loving,” “womanizing,” “draft-dodging” and “pot-smoking” President [Clinton] in a speech at an Air Force banquet.”
In another tweet, the Marine takes a stab at the president on behalf of all Marines, by stating, “most [Marines] aren’t evangelicals. A lot aren’t Christians. Even more, aren’t Conservative Probably close to half hate Trump. Also, most of us are assholes & proud of it.”
But because “Chicano Marine” is enlisted and not an officer of the Marine Corps, his statements do not violate Article 88 and may not cause him to face disciplinary action unless it is decided his official authority as a Marine is being used to influence voters.
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