Florida Senator, Marco Rubio has called on the Army to revoke Army Second Lieutenant Spenser Rapone’s commission over controversial content he posted to social media on his graduation day.
Rapone himself posted two images on social media; one image showed him wearing a Che Guevara shirt under his West Point cadet uniform. Che Guevara is the communist warlord responsible for spreading chaos, terror and death across Cuba and South America in the 60s. The second picture shows the young Rapone holding his formal military hat, inlaid with the message, “Communism will win.”
Even more shockingly, Rapone was found to have posted multiple messages on several online forums in which he called for violence against the United States, and mocking military leadership.
Rubio sent a letter to Army Secretary, Ryan McCarthy on Wednesday, in which he called Rapone’s actions an, “extreme embarrassment for the United States Army and the United States Military Academy.”
“As you may know, Rapone has publically and vulgarly derided the secretary of defense,” Rubio continued, “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.”
“Additional posts on social media by Rapone broadcast his devotion to the communist cause and his plans to infiltrate and sabotage the military,” he continued. “His conduct, writings, and sympathies for American adversaries predates his commission in the Army. Therefore, I respectfully request the United States Army immediately nullify Rapone’s commission and pursue all available disciplinary options under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. 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.”
“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,” Rubio wrote in his letter. “Rapone’s revolutionary ideas were harbored long before he was commissioned as an Army Second Lieutenant.”
The Florida Senator also demanded to know, “Were West Point administrators or faculty aware of his views and behavior?”
And argued, “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.”
Following the social media firestorm, and controversy, the U.S. Military Academy was forced to respond. “The U.S. Military Academy strives to develop leaders who internalize the academy’s motto of Duty, Honor, Country, and who live the Army values,” their statement read. “Second Lieutenant Rapone’s actions in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army.”
The statement also noted that, “members of the military must exhibit exemplary conduct, and are prohibited from engaging in certain expressions of political speech in uniform.” It is expected that Rapone will face disciplinary actions.