Judicial Watch Sues DoD for Records on Biden's Use of Marines as 'Props' at Controversial Campaign Speech

(CNSNews.com) — Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Defense Department because it has failed to produce legally requested communications concerning President Joe Biden’s Sept. 1 campaign speech in Philadelphia, where he positioned two U.S. Marines to stand behind him as he lectured that “MAGA Republicans” are threatening the “very foundations of our Republic.” 

During the campaign speech, Biden said, “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic. … Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.”
“But there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country,” said the president. 

In a press release, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “Biden’s infamous ‘Red Speech,’ which included the abuse of our Marines in its totalitarian imagery, painted a target on Trump and tens of millions of Americans for political suppression and worse.”

“And, to make matters worse, the Pentagon is violating federal law by hiding records about Biden’s misuse of our military in his attempt to intimidate Americans,” Fitton added.

Biden’s speech was on Sept. 1, 2022 in Philadelphia, Penn. Because of Biden’s use of the Marines, the speech sparked controversy and raised questions about him using the military for political purposes, e.g., specifically denouncing Trump and his supporters who are U.S. citizens.


On Oct. 31, Judicial Watch submitted a regular FOIA request to the Defense Department, as well as to the leaders of the Navy and the Marines Corps, and to the White House Military Office.  The government watchdog asked for the following,

“Any and all communications or documents including but not limited to emails, transcripts, briefs, etc. between June 1, 2022 and September 13, 2022 within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Commandant of Marine Corps regarding Marines standing behind the President during his September 1, 2022 speech in Philadelphia.

The same request was made for any communications “sent to or shared with the White House Military Office and Office of the President regarding Marines standing behind the President during his September 1, 2022 speech in Philadelphia.”

The Defense Department replied that day stating it had received the request and had assigned ita tracking number. However, on Nov. 4, the Defense Department said it “would not be able to respond to the request within FOIA’s 20-day statutory time period,” reported Judicial Watch.

To this day, the DoD has not released any records to Judicial Watch — thus, the lawsuit, which was filed on Jan. 25 in the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia. 

On Twitter, CNN’s Brianna Keiller, whose husband is in the military, said after the speech, “Whatever you think of this speech, the military is supposed to be apolitical. Positioning Marines in uniform behind President Biden for a political speech flies in the face of that. It’s wrong when Democrats do it. It’s wrong when Republicans do it.”


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