Donald Trump RNC Video Featuring Marines Resurfaces After Biden Speech Fury

A video showing former President Donald Trump and two serving U.S. Marines that aired at the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) has resurfaced amid controversy surrounding President Joe Biden's speech on Thursday.

Two uniformed members of the U.S. Marine Corps stood behind Biden as he delivered a prime time speech in Philadelphia where he described Trump and MAGA (Make America Great Again) Republicans as a threat to democracy.

The appearance of the two Marines quickly became the subject of criticism from some Republicans and media commentators who expressed concern that active duty personnel could be seen while Biden delivered a speech strongly criticizing political opponents.

Ron Filipkowksi, an ex-Republican lawyer who resigned from his position on a state judicial commission after a police raid on a former coronavirus data scientist, shared a video to Twitter on Friday that showed two uniformed marines opening a door for former President Trump and then saluting as he passed.

That video had aired at the RNC on August 25, 2020 and was controversial at the time, leading some to criticize Trump for using footage of the marines at a political convention in potential violation of the Defense Department's longstanding policy against service members participating in political rallies while in uniform.

The footage was from a naturalization ceremony that Trump had attended at the White House and the Marine Corps defended the servicemen's role, saying they "were at their assigned place of duty."

"Their official duty is to assist the president in office; those duties include opening doors for the president," the Marine Corps said at the time.

"The president held a naturalization ceremony and pardoned an individual which were official White House events," a White House official said at the time, adding that the events had been publicized and "the campaign decided to use the publicly available content for campaign purposes. There was no violation of law."

Filipkowksi's video had been viewed more than 460,000 times as of early Saturday morning.

Controversy over the video in 2020 was remarkably similar to the anger that has been expressed since Biden's speech on Thursday.

Veteran and founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Rieckhoff tweeted on 25 August, 2020: "Using the Marines in this segment is just the latest example of Trump shamelessly and damagingly politicizing our military. They're just political props to him."

On Thursday evening, CNN anchor Brianna Keilar tweeted: "Whatever you think of this speech, the military is supposed to be apolitical. Positioning Marines in uniform behind President Biden for a political speech flies in the face of that. It's wrong when Democrats do it. It's wrong when Republicans do it."

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended the presence of the marines on Friday.

"The president gave an important speech last night, a critical speech at an inflection point, and our democracy, our values, our values that our men and women who protect us every day and fight for every day believe in as well," she said.

"It is not abnormal, it is actually normal, for presidents from either side of the aisle to give speeches in front of members of the military," Jean-Pierre said. "It is not an unusual sight, it is not an unusual event to have happened."

Biden Speaks in Front of Two Marines
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a primetime speech at Independence National Historical Park September 1, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two U.S. Marines can be seen behind Biden and have become a source of controversy. Alex Wong/Getty Images