Some Navy SEALs have been punished for flying a flag supporting President Donald Trump from a military Humvee in a convoy near Louisville, Kentucky, on Jan. 29 (video below).
Lt. Jacqui Maxwell of the Naval Special Warfare Group 2 told Military.com that an investigation had been completed:
It has been determined that those service members have violated the spirit and intent of applicable [Defense Department] regulations concerning the flying of flags and the apparent endorsement of political activities. Administrative corrective measures were taken with each individual based on their respective responsibility.
Maxwell did not say how many of the SEALs were punished, but the Lexington Herald-Leader said the convoy consisted of eight Humvees driving on Interstate 65.
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The U.S. Department of Defense's rule does not allow military troops to endorse or appear to endorse any "political candidate, campaign, or cause."
According to Maxwell, Navy regulations do not allow the display of the blue and white Trump flag.
The DOD originally said the Humvees were not with an active military unit, which was not true, the Lexington Herald-Leader notes. The Navy said the Humvees were driven by a East Coast Navy SEALs unit that was engaged in training exercises at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
According to the Courier-Journal, some motorists who saw the Humvee convoy with the Trump flag thought it denoted a "banana republic" or fascism, while others had no problem with supporting the president.
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Indivisible Kentucky, a group that opposes Trump, originally posted videos and pictures of the Humvee convoy and the flag.
The organization posted the headline "Military Vehicles Flying Trump Flag Possibly 'Trump Militia'" on its website along with some theories on Jan. 31:
No matter who these belong to, military, militia, DoD contractor, the appearance is more than a little unsettling. It creates the perception that the military is loyal to Trump, when in fact the military swears an oath to the constitution, not to a person or an office.
Was this erroneous perception intended? We have no way of knowing. Is this in fact some sort of private armed force loyal to Trump, also no way of knowing. No matter the answer, it’s more than a little unsettling.
The Navy issued a reminder to its troops about political activity in March 2016, reports MilitaryTimes.com:
Any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating with the DoD, or any component or personnel of the department, with a partisan political activity or is otherwise contrary to the spirit and intention of this policy guidance will be avoided.