As protests and hashtags develop across the country and on social media in response to President Trump’s actions in office thus far, the U.S. military and federal government employees continue to salute their president regardless of personal opinion or political ideology.
“This is not my President” chants rang out over the course of the inauguration week and throughout President Trump’s first weeks in office. However, the army of first-time protestors’ livelihoods do not depend on the commander-in-chief fulfilling his duties under the Constitution. Regardless of how they may feel personally, military and government employees are going about their duty. Trump is their president.
The military and federal government have a vested interest in the president’s success.
Our military and federal employees depend on the commander in chief to make sound decisions regarding foreign and domestic policy.
The Trump and Pence presidential campaign ran a heavy emphasis on strengthening the military and getting tough on domestic policy by replacing a Muslim ban with an extreme vetting of Muslim immigrants.
According to a poll from the Military Times, of the 2,790 active-duty troops surveyed, 51 percent said they supported Trump. The same poll also said that among active-duty troops, one in four service members worries Trump may issue orders that violate military rules or traditions.
While President Trump inspired many first-time protestors to action, there was little doubt the commander in chief’s traditional standing military would back him. Even after attacking a Gold Star family by insulting the Khans or attacking John McCain, Trump’s approval ratings among military personnel didn’t seem to falter.
The Trump/Pence campaign announced the support from 88 retired generals and admirals, which paled in comparison to the 500 that backed Mitt Romney in 2012, but they stand with him nonetheless, reports the Atlantic.
Many federal employees worry they may lose their jobs or money in the event of a government shutdown, and this has possibly affected their view of Trump’s administration.
Since 1976, if Congress could not agree on a budget by the end of the fiscal year, the government would “shut down” leaving many employees without jobs, or those with jobs with retroactive pay. ABC reports as many as 800,000 non-essential federal employees were affected by the last government shutdown.
Active duty personnel are not affected by potential government shutdowns in the form of furloughing all non-essential government employees. The military remains loyal in its oath to serve and protect America and its citizens.
“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God,” reads the oath of enlistment.
Federal law enforcement and some personnel also take a similar oath that binds them to the president’s words and actions.
Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, in the commander in chief clause, states “the President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and the Militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.”
The clause includes any service man/woman who was pro or anti-Trump, whatever the commander in chief says goes, be it added deployments or enforcing the Muslim-ban.
As updated pictures of the military’s new chain of command are put on display across the nation with the new administration in place, veterans and current service men and women are among those with the most to lose and yet they are still saying, “This is my President.”
– Jakob R. Rodriguez is a journalism freshman