The Biden campaign has now pulled an ad from the airwaves Monday after a retired Army general publicly objected to the campaign’s use of his likeness.
Retired Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, who led the Obama administration’s effort to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria, says that “a number of people” have told him they believed he endorsed Biden because of his appearance in the ad.
“I’m not a political person, but this isn’t about just me. I object to the use of ANY military personnel in uniform in political ads – full stop,” he wrote in a now-deleted LinkedIn post, according to Politico.
“Nobody asked permission to use my image,” he continued. “My request to remove it was denied. … Let’s keep the military out of politics and vice versa. I think our country will be better off if we do.”
Biden campaign relents
The Biden video has been made private on YouTube, and the campaign said it was working on scrubbing MacFarland from it “in accordance with [his] wishes.”
MacFarland said that when he first asked to be removed from the ad, the campaign told him that using his image was legal because his name tag was blurred and the ad carried a disclaimer that use of military images “does not imply or constitute endorsement” by the military or Department of Defense.
The campaign also got its digs in about a similar situation with the Trump campaign: “Donald Trump, in sharp contrast, has shown himself happy to use our armed forces as a political prop and trample over the fundamental line between politics and our military to the extent that he’s been publicly rebuked by leading current and retired generals and by his own defense secretary.”
In other words, the Biden campaign is making it clear that the Trump campaign is even worse than they are — or so they allege.
Military not allowed to campaign
And while Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley did object to the Trump campaign using his name in an ad aimed at getting voters to request mail-in ballots, the ad wasn’t in direct support of Trump’s re-election like the Biden ad.
There’s also an issue of military rules that prohibit currently serving members from participating in campaigns, fundraisers, and campaign events in uniform. The ad could be looked at as such a violation.
Since MacFarland is retired, he is not subject to those rules, but is instead objecting for personal reasons. Politico’s equivalence of the two is just plain wrong.
Or, I should say, it’s inaccurate. The way media outlets always point fingers at Trump even when Biden is the one currently at issue — now that’s wrong.