On 22 February 2017, the Facebook group "Conservative Veterans for America" shared an image macro making the claim that thousands of Marines had applied for White House detail since Donald Trump became president, even though none had applied during President Obama's eight years in office:
The image was unclear about the specific "White House detail" that reportedly received thousands of "applications," although it likely referring to the sentries on duty at the West Wing of the White House whenever the President is there:
Four Marines are always on guard at the West Wing of the White House. These Marines go through an intense selection process, and they must maintain their composure at all times.
The image was not accompanied by any source or additional information, and its details sounded made up. If the image were to be believed, some 8 percent of the entire U.S. Marine Corps volunteered for White House detail in a single week, while not a single Marine volunteered during the previous eight years. Additionally, Marines have told us that those who serve on the White House detail are hand-picked, and the Corps doesn't need to engage in a "casting call" to fill the few available spots.
We reached out to U.S. Marine Spokesman Major Clark Carpenter, who told us that the numbers "didn't sound right" but averred that he didn't have accurate information immediately available. And a Marine spokesperson confirmed that "Marines serving in White House duty are generally not volunteers and are assigned from the eligible population through the Marine Corps' routine manpower processes."
The embedded video above was produced during President Obama's first term in 2009. While Cpl. James Applewhite did not go into detail about the selection process, he did say that he was "pretty lucky" to get the position: "The White House post is one of those posts they tell you about, but no one expects to come here. It's very selective. There's only four Marines in the entire Marine Corps that get to do it, so I was pretty lucky to get the position."