According to a Fox News report, Vice President Kamala Harris repeatedly failed to return the salutes given to her by the Marine guards boarding or leaving the vice-presidential plane.
Harris failed to salute the honor guard on Monday when boarding Air Force Two. Harris also failed to salute the honor guard on her earlier trips aboard the plane on both March 15 and 16, according to the report.
VP Harris repeatedly fails to salute military on Air Force Two, breaking with precedent https://t.co/ToAd7T6din
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 24, 2021
Harris’s predecessors, former Vice Presidents Mike Pence and Joe Biden, regularly saluted the honor guard, when boarding or disembarking from Air Force Two.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said late Wednesday that no military protocol exists that requires the vice president to return salutes to military members.
The Daily Caller reported the tradition of returning a salute started in 1981 under President Ronald Reagan.
“I know all the rules about not saluting in civilian clothes and so forth, and when you should or shouldn’t,” Reagan said. “So, I said to the commandant, I said, ‘Look, I know all the rules about saluting in civilian clothes and all, but if I am the commander in chief, there ought to be a regulation that would permit me to return a salute.’ And I heard some words of wisdom. He said, ‘I think if you did, no one would say anything.’”
Conservatives criticized Harris for breaking with a decades-old tradition. characterizing her lack of salute as disrespectful. Former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik called Harris’ decision not to salute “disgraceful” in a Tuesday tweet.
“It is a clear demonstration of her dislike for those in uniform, both law-enforcement and military,” Kerik continued.