The U.S. Army has given a West Point graduate who tweeted provocative pictures of himself supporting revolutionary socialism an other-than-honorable discharge.
Top officials at Fort Drum's 10th Mountain Division accepted Spenser Rapone's resignation on Monday after the Army conducted a full investigation into his conduct, the Associated Press reported.
Rapone, 26, told the AP that he received an other-than-honorable discharge because the investigation found he advocated for a socialist revolution and ridiculed military officers and other U.S. officials online. He had previously been reprimanded for "conduct unbecoming of an officer."
"I consider myself a revolutionary socialist," Rapone said. "I would encourage all soldiers who have a conscience to lay down their arms and join me and so many others who are willing to stop serving the agents of imperialism and join us in a revolutionary movement."
On Monday, Rapone tweeted a photo of himself extending a middle finger toward the entrance of Fort Drum, along with the words, "One final salute."
Rapone first caused controversy last year, when he tweeted two photographs from his West Point graduation in May: one of him wearing a shirt with a blood-red image of socialist revolutionary leader Che Guevara, the other of him holding a cap with the message "Communism will win" scrawled on the inside while he raises his fist.
Rapone tweeted the graduation photos in September to show support for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling while the national anthem played before games to protest racism in the country. Kaepernick once had a heated exchange with a reporter after wearing a shirt featuring the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
West Point quickly distanced itself from Rapone's photos, saying his actions "in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) also commented on the photos, calling on the secretary of the Army to remove Rapone from the officer ranks.
"While in uniform, Spenser Rapone advocated for communism and political violence, and expressed support and sympathy for enemies of the United States" Rubio said Monday. "I'm glad to see that they have given him an 'other-than-honorable' discharge."
Rapone expressed support for socialism prior to graduating from West Point. A West Point professor once told the academy that his online posts were "red flags that cannot be ignored."
Published under: Military