WASHINGTON — A US Marine sergeant has been given an “other than honorable” discharge after posting remarks critical of President Barack Obama on Facebook, the Marine Corps announced Wednesday.
Gary Stein, 26, a nine-year veteran, has been “separated from the Marine Corps” for his “misconduct,” the Marines said in a statement.
The Marines added that an other than honorable discharge is given when the “basis for separation is the commission of a serious offense which is a significant departure from the conduct expected of a Marine.”
The statement said those receiving an other than honorable discharge “are automatically reduced to pay grade E-3” — that of a lance corporal.
Stein posted comments on Facebook and other websites calling Obama a coward and “the economic and religious enemy,” a Marine Corps board was told during a hearing earlier this month.
Stein had urged Obama’s defeat in the November election, writing “screw Obama” in one posting, and had founded a website called Armed Forces Tea Party, apparently in support of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement.
On one site he sold bumper stickers reading “NOBAMA 2012.”
As president, Obama is the commander-in-chief of US armed forces.
Stein’s lawyers had argued that as the comments were made off-duty, they are protected under constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression, saying the Marine Corps’s own rules on the matter are vague.
They argued that restricting Marines from participating in political discussions essentially reduced them to second-class citizens.
Stein, who served in Iraq, had been assigned to scheduling rifle ranges at Camp Pendleton. His enlistment was set to end in July, and he had hoped to reenlist.
‘Martyrdom for snowflakes’: CNN analyst knocks Republicans who desperately wanted to be arrested at protest
CNN host Don Lemon reported Wednesday evening that many Republicans wanted to be arrested for storming the secure room where the House Intelligence Committee depositions were taking place.
Fox News reporter Chad Pergram tweeted that he was told "there was never any chance [members] who barged into SCIF would be arrested by [capital police], but some members asked to be arrested. They wanted the optic of being frog-marched out of the SCIF in front of TV cameras. That would help w/GOP narrative of Dem process abuse."
Commentator Wajahat Ali called it the perfect example of "martyrdom for snowflakes."
Seth Meyers says Republicans storming classified room looked like a protest at a pharmacy that ran out of Viagra
"Late Night" comedian Seth Meyers couldn't help but lambast the far-right Republicans angry that they're not being included in the depositions ahead of the impeachment hearings.
Wednesday, Republicans stormed a secure room known as a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), because they seemed to misunderstand the difference between a deposition and a hearing. In Congressional hearings, witnesses will be presented for members of the committee to question. In a classified deposition, the witness can give information that is considered classified for security reasons. Oddly, some members who are allowed in the room were also protesting.
WATCH: CNN’s Don Lemon bursts out laughing over Trump’s new wall in Colorado
CNN's Don Lemon typically deals with difficult and intense topics at the top of his weekly show. Wednesday night, however, after a serious opener about Syria and ISIS, Lemon broke into hysterics over President Donald Trump's flub saying he would build a border wall on Colorado's border.
"You know why we're going to win New Mexico? Because they want safety on our border. And they didn't have it," said Trump. "And we're building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we're building a wall in Colorado. We're building a beautiful wall, a big one that really works — you can't get over, you can't get under. And we're building a wall in Texas. And we're not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned. And Louisiana's incredible."