President Donald Trump drew criticism after saluting a North Korean general during the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, NBC News reported.
Trump reached out to shake the general’s hand, and the general saluted, then Trump saluted the general in return, then the pair shook hands, the NBC report said.
A video of the salute is airing on North Korean state television with an enthusiastic anchor discussing it, the report said.
A number of people with military backgrounds critiqued the salute, NBC News reported.
“It is wholly inappropriate for the commander in chief of our armed forces to salute the military of our adversary, especially one which is responsible for a regime of terror, murder and unspeakable horror against its own people,” said Army Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Paul Eaton, a VoteVets.org senior adviser, NBC News reported.
Col. Jack Jacobs, an NBC News analyst and Medal of Honor recipient, said Trump’s salute “seemed like a reflective action” he would have advised against.
“If I had been his military aide I would have told him, ‘They’re going to salute you, but don’t return the salute, just move smartly down the line.'” Jacobs said, NBC News reported.
“To no one’s surprise, North Korea used our president for their propaganda campaign,” tweeted Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.
In the military, a salute is a sacred part of history; the president is the commander-in-chief, and will generally return a salute from U.S. military service members, but not military officials from other nations, NBC noted.
Previous presidents have drawn criticism for saluting other leaders; former president Barack Obama bowed from the waist when greeting Japanese emperor Akihito in 2009, the NBC report said.
Trump himself slammed Obama in 2012 after Obama bowed in a greeting to Saudi King Abdullah in 2012.
“Barack Obama bowed to Saudi king in public — yet the Dems are questioning Mitt Romney’s diplomatic skills,” Trump tweeted at the time, NBC News reported.
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