President Barack Obama faced a storm in a teacup yesterday after he was seen saluting military personnel while simultaneously holding a polystyrene mug.
In a video posted by the White House to Instagram, the President can be seen disembarking his Marine One helicopter after touching down in New York yesterday.
As he gears up to attend the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, he left the aircraft, caffeine in hand, and saluted the two waiting Marines at the bottom of the steps.
The move was branded “disrespectful” by people on social media and “absurd” by Republican lobby group NRCC.
It also led to a slew of criticism on Twitter, while others defended the leader by making reference to a salute made by George W Bush in 2001, which he made while holding his dog Barney.
Point being, Obama's 'latte salute' suggests emotional immaturity and classic "passive-aggressive behavior" http://t.co/25Tmm78u6d; DanRiehl (@DanRiehl) September 24, 2014
If there was ever any doubt as 2 the level of regard Obama holds for our military, this latte salute seals the deal http://t.co/9Hy6QeN4hM; Allen West (@AllenWest) September 23, 2014
Pres. Obama, having just given a speech on sending troops to war, can't put his coffee in his other hand to salute? http://t.co/R3kS4Y3ecj; Andrew Shult (@AndrewShult) September 23, 2014
While others attempted to joke about the 'faux pas' and others jumped to the President's defence:
Obama's coffee salute is especially outrageous to those who think he is going to war too latte.; Jim Antle (@jimantle) September 24, 2014
Procedure – popularised by Reagan – has it that the President salutes the military personnel on duty who is also saluting him. However, it is not official protocol and some have argued that it in fact represents an increased “militarisation of the civilian presidency,” Reuters says.
Last year, the President retreated from his helicopter to shake hands and chat with a Marine whom he had momentarily forgotten to salute.
The UN is currently hosting a number of meetings and talks, including the Climate Summit, the threat from Isis and the spread of infectious virus Ebola in western Africa.