President Obama’s coffee-cup salute
Screenshot of White House Instagram video

For most Americans, the morning coffee is inarguably one of the most important beverages of the day. And yet when President Barack Obama stepped off the presidential helicopter on Tuesday clutching a coffee cup and gave a few Marine guards a coffee-handed salute as a result, the gesture angered a few of his most loyal critics.

"Wait - did President Obama just salute the Marines with a LATTE in his hand?!" the National Republican Congressional Committee hysterically tweeted.

A video of the president giving the botched salute made its rounds on the Internet and inspired the Twitter hashtag #lattesalute.

Hysterics aside, a CNN report describes how, for folks in the military, the salute is a big deal and a major sign of respect: “It’s become tradition for presidents to salute the military officers he encounters when boarding the official helicopter, a tradition that is widely understood as begun by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.”

To put Obama’s coffee salute in context, CNN referenced a U.S. Navy manual on customs and courtesies that advises military officers and VIPs to forgo the gesture if they’ve got something in their hand that might prevent them from saluting someone properly.


But despite how some Republicans are reacting to Obama’s salute, the botched gesture is not a political thing or proof that Democrats don’t appreciate or respect the military as much as Republicans do.

Back in 2001, when President George W. Bush was holding Barney Bush, his cute Scottish terrier, he gave an awkward salute, too.

For the most part, saluting should be done properly. But these guys are juggling so many things at once that a presidential mishap every now and then shouldn’t make prime-time news.


Read more at CNN.