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By Jonah Bennett
A veterans’ group critical of President Donald Trump has asked the First Lady to condemn Marines sharing the nude photos of other female service members.
Trina McDonald of Common Defense said that the group is waiting for Melania Trump blast the hundreds of unrepentant Marines involved in sharing nude photos of female service members without their permission, Military Times reports.
“We are waiting for our first lady to support our women in uniform against continued harassment and cyberbullying,” McDonald said.
“The social media stalking of women is unacceptable and the involvement of our armed services members is an embarrassment,” she added.
Independent site The War Horse first broke the news with the Center for Investigative Reporting that Marines part of the 30,000-strong Facebook group Marines United were sharing thousands of naked photos of female servicemembers. Some of them were explicitly identified by rank and full name.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis has since soundly condemned the actions of those Marines, as has Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller.
But Common Defense wants Melania to speak up about the harassment, and the fact that neither the president, nor the First Lady, have issued a statement on the matter comes off to the group as disheartening, especially given that Melania pledged in November to make cyberbullying a priority.
“It feels like veterans are just a talking point for this White House, and not a priority,” Common Defense spokesman Alexander McCoy said.
Another veteran group, Vietnam Veterans of America, recently requested that the Department of Defense to prioritize female veterans affected by this kind of harassment, rather than focus on perpetrators.
“It’s hard to imagine how someone in uniform could have so little respect for their colleagues and for their service that they would engage in this despicable campaign of cyber bullying,” said John Rowan, national president and CEO of Vietnam Veterans of America, in a statement Saturday.
“We’re calling on the Department of Defense not only to focus on investigations of this behavior, but to make supporting victims as their number one priority.”