Whether to salute is back in the news.
Donald Trump was recorded saluting a North Korean general in what appears to be an awkward, unscripted moment. The president extended his hand, the general saluted him, the president then returned the salute.
It looked clumsy.
This mini-kerfuffle does bring to mind a discussion that emerges from time to time: Does a president return salutes from military personnel? Should he do so?
Recent presidents have done so. It’s appropriate, given their role as commander in chief. Presidents Obama, Bush (43) and Clinton all did it; so did President Reagan. Bill Clinton, as I recall, needed some schooling on how to salute, given that his initial efforts looked a bit, well, clumsy as well. Active-duty military personnel and veterans picked up on it right away.
Donald Trump’s return of these salutes look just fine to me. He snaps it properly. Perhaps he learned how to salute during his years in military school prior to heading off to college.
I like watching presidents return these salutes, as long as they know what they’re doing when they snap them back at military personnel who initiate them.
As for the current president’s clumsy moment in Singapore, it’s no big deal.