Watching President Donald Trump’s initial Review of the Troops following his inauguration had many people noticing a stark difference between the outgoing President Obama and the incoming President.
During his 2013 inauguration, President Obama did not salute the troops or colors during his initial review at the inauguration, as shown in the below video.
As well as in this screenshot:
However, President Trump took his first opportunity to return a salute to the troops and flag enthusiastically, as shown below:
Presidents have not always returned salutes from the troops. According to a New York Times piece on the topic:
Presidents have long been saluted, but they began returning salutes relatively recently. Ronald Reagan was thought to be the first, in 1981. He had sought advice on the matter from Gen. Robert Barrow, commandant of the Marine Corps. According to John Kline, then Mr. Reagan’s military aide and today a member of Congress from Minnesota, General Barrow told the president that as commander in chief he could salute anybody he wished. And so it began.
Mr. Reagan’s successors continued the practice, and I continued to be conflicted — believing that when it comes to salutes (and one or two other matters), presidents deserved to be cut some slack, but also feeling a little uneasy about the whole thing.
Social media noticed Trump’s salute right away:
President Obama has been inconsistent with his salutes during his administration, sometimes giving meaningful, crisp salutes, sometimes not saluting at all and once took considerable criticism for once saluting a Marine with a cup of coffee in his hand (as shown below):
Here is a video report documenting the coffee incident and its surrounding controversy:
President George W Bush took similar criticism for once returning a salute while holding his dog in his arms.
The debate on the appropriateness of presidential salutes will likely continue during the Trump administration.