Second Lt. Spenser Rapone, 25, revealed his support for both Colin Kaepernick and communism with a couple of tweets Sunday that have sparked controversy and questions.
Rapone posted a photograph taken at his May 2016 graduation ceremony showing him dressed in his West Point Cadet uniform and revealing a message written inside his cap: “Communism will win.” Alongside the photo, he wrote, “#VeteransForKaepernick.”
Rapone posted the tweet following President Trump’s blasting of the NFL over player protests during the national anthem and calling any player who takes a knee a “son of a bitch.”
Twitter users, some outraged, some supportive and some just plain perplexed, wondered if Rapone’s tweet was genuine or a gag. Does he really believe “communism will win?” Was he actually supporting the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the kneeling movement in protest of police brutality, or was he mocking him?
Rapone set the record straight by sharing another photograph showing his open cadet uniform and a Che Guevara t-shirt under it, saying, “In case there was any lingering doubt, hasta la victoria siempre,” citing the slogan tied to the revolutionary who believed communism would save the impoverished people of Latin America, which translates roughly to “until victory, forever”
The most pressing question is how the Army will handle Rapone’s public pro-communist display — the military disallows political protests from serving personnel, so Rapone may be in trouble. West Point released a statement Tuesday saying it is investigating.
“Second Lieutenant Rapone’s actions in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army. As figures of public trust, members of the military must exhibit exemplary conduct and are prohibited from engaging in certain expressions of political speech in uniform,” the statement read.
“Second Lieutenant Rapone’s chain of command is aware of his actions.”