A United States senator is demanding answers from the Army after an Army officer posted pictures of himself on social media promoting pro-communist messages and expressing an intention to infiltrate the U.S. military.
Senator Marco Rubio, (R-Fl) called on the Army to “immediately nullify” 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone’s commission and recommended that West Point revoke his degree.
The photos, recently posted on Twitter, showed the then-cadet posing with a Che Guevara t-shirt under his uniform and “Communism will win” written on his cap at his graduation from the academy in May of 2016. In one of the tweets, Rapone, who currently serves in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, included the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick to show support for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He has also expressed support for Chelsea Manning — formerly Army private Bradley Manning — who violated the Espionage Act by leaking classified military documents to WikiLeaks.
Making matters worse, Rapone also posted a picture of an antifa flag in his room, called Defense Sec. James Mattis “a vile, evil f*ck,” tweeted that he’d “happily” dance on GOP Sen. John McCain’s grave, and stated that Vice President Mike Pence “is a f*cking medieval, cold-blooded killer.”
In his letter to acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, Rubio wrote: “As you may know, Rapone has publicly and vulgarly derided the secretary of defense, advocated for communism while in uniform and political violence in general, and expressed support and sympathy for enemies of the United States, including Chelsea Manning, a convicted traitor. This clearly violates multiple Army regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
Rubio requested that “the United States Army immediately nullify Rapone’s commission and pursue all available disciplinary options under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” He added, “Rapone should be required to pay back in full the cost of his education and the United States Military Academy should consider revoking his degree.”
“While I strongly believe academic institutions must respect the exchange of ideas and allow students to voice their opinions, members of the military who harbor anti-American views and express their desire to harm our country and its leaders are unfit to serve and defend our nation — and certainly should not enjoy the privilege of attending or graduating from an institution such as West Point, a taxpayer-funded military academy,” Rubio wrote.
The Florida senator noted that “it is extremely concerning that someone who so often expressed such hostile views towards the United States’ system of government was able to obtain a commission. Rapone’s revolutionary ideas were harbored long before he was commissioned as an Army Second Lieutenant. Were West Point administrators or faculty aware of his views and behavior?”
Rapone, now the focus of an Army investigation, was mentored at West Point by Rasheed Hosein, a professor of Middle East history who is currently on administrative leave and under investigation by the Army for engaging in political activity while in uniform.
“While I strongly believe academic institutions must respect the exchange of ideas and allow students to voice their opinions,” Rubio wrote, “members of the military who harbor anti-American views and express their desire to harm our country and its leaders are unfit to serve and defend our nation—and certainly should not enjoy the privilege of attending or graduating from an institution such as West Point, a taxpayer-funded military academy.”
Rubio pointed out that Rapone’s case was not just a matter of law, but also a matter of “common sense,.” Rubio hopes that the second lieutenant’s “unchecked behavior is an extreme embarrassment for the United States Army and the United States Military Academy.”
Rubio requested “all relevant information” regarding West Point’s efforts to weed out anti-American cadets like Rapone so they don’t continue to waste taxpayer funds or prevent a more worthy candidate from attending the institution.
“The Army’s premier officer commissioning source must ensure an individual like Spenser Rapone is never given the opportunity to lead or serve beside American soldiers,” the senator concluded.
Rubio asked for a response from the Army within the next 30 days.