A U.S. Military Academy graduate and Army infantry officer has been condemned after posing with a sign reading “Communism will win” and posting pro-Colin Kaepernick messages on social media.
The messages and images posted by Second Lt. Spenser Rapone have rocked the military community, prompting officers to open an investigation.
Alumni of West Point shared a photo on Twitter showing Rapone at a gathering wearing a Che Guevara shirt underneath his military uniform.
In another photo, he is seen making a fist with one hand as he holds a cap with a sign inside that reads “Communism will win.” Rapone tweeted the photo Sunday and captioned it with “#VeteransForKaepernick,” in a bid to show solidarity with the NFL’s national anthem protests.Display nothing; This is on Publish with no configured Image
Army officials condemned Rapone and said an investigation was opened Tuesday after his pro-Kaepernick and pro-communist photo drew social media attention, the New York Post reported.
“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. Second Lieutenant Rapone’s actions in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army,” an Army statement reads.
Rapone apparently embraced the outrage, sharing the photo of himself wearing a Che Guevara shirt and writing, “In case there was any lingering doubt, hasta la victoria siempre.” The words, known as a Guevara slogan, translate to "Until victory, always!"
Ernesto "Che" Guevara, born in Argentina in 1928, became a key figure in Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution in 1959. Guevara died in Bolivia in 1967 at age 39.
Rapone’s communist sympathies are no secret, the Post reported. He once posted photos of himself with Karl Marx's “Communist Manifesto” and a photo of One World Trade Center with him holding a communist red star on the top.Display nothing; This is on Publish with no configured Image
The soldier also admitted being a card-carrying member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
A veterans’ subgroup of the DSA threw its support behind Rapone following the controversy, tweeting: “Let there be no doubt that we have unequivocal solidarity with and pride in Spenser. He’s an exceptional soldier.”
The group also released a statement claiming it encouraged him "to take whatever steps he sees necessary to express his political beliefs and continue to organize towards a socialist future.”