In one of the most emotional moments of an address given to Congress, President Donald Trump honored the fallen Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens and paid tribute to his widow, drawing a standing ovation and many tears.
Trump probably gained the support of 100 percent of Navy SEALs in that moment, but a new story suggests he already had their approval a month prior to his speech.
That story revealed that Navy SEALs were shamelessly punished for demonstrating their patriotism and support of Donald Trump.
The Washington Times reported:
Military officials say U.S. Navy SEALs have been punished for flying a ‘Trump’ flag from a convoy in Louisville, Kentucky, on Jan. 29.
Some of America’s top warriors have been disciplined for allowing a convoy of eight Humvees traveling north on Interstate 65 to include a campaign flag used by President Trump’s supporters.
Video of the incident was uploaded to social media sites by an anti-Trump organization called ‘Indivisible Kentucky.’
Lt. Jacqui Maxwell of the Naval Special Warfare Group 2 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, issued a statement on Tuesday that chastised the SEALs for violating ‘the spirit and intent of applicable DoD regulations concerning the flying of flags and the apparent endorsement of political activities,’ the Courier Journal reported.
The officer also told Military.com on Wednesday that ‘administrative corrective measures were taken with each individual based on their respective responsibility.’
Navy regulations prohibit personnel from conducting ‘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,’ Military.com reported.
The number of SEALs involved in the incident and the nature of their punishment was not disclosed.
But it’s not just Naval regulations — nearly all employees of the federal government and military are forbidden from openly endorsing parties or politicians.
The Hatch Act of 1939 is a federal law that restricts political activity of executive branch employees, and some state and local employees whose salaries are paid with federal money. But in 1993, The Hatch Act was amended to extend to nearly all federal employees, including the active military, to take an active part in partisan politics.
But the Hatch Act’s certain nuances are widely misunderstood and convoluted. Maybe even intentionally.
Under the U.S. Army’s homepage “General Information” section, three of the “Frequently Asked Questions” sum up some of the “rules” for military personnel:
Q: Sam, a GS-12 contract specialist, has just arrived to work after voting in his first presidential election. He is very excited about the race and wears his candidate’s button at work. Is this permitted?
A: No. Federal employees (whether civilian or military) are not allowed to engage in partisan activity at work. This includes wearing political buttons on duty, or even displaying a campaign poster or bumper sticker in one’s office. Federal employees would be allowed to wear political buttons off duty and off work premises. Military members cannot wear these buttons while in uniform.
Q: Valerie is a new hire to the Navy. Before becoming a federal employee, Valerie had always been active in politics. She was recently selected to lead the fundraising efforts in her community for her party’s presidential candidate. Can she do this?
A: No. The rules that govern the political activity of civilian employees are known as the Hatch Act. Under the Hatch Act, federal employees are not allowed to solicit and receive political contributions in a partisan election, but they may make them. Members of the military are not subject to the Hatch Act. However, restrictions regarding their political activity are governed by DOD Directive 1344.10. Like federal employees, members of the Armed Forces are not allowed to solicit and receive political contributions, but may make them.
Q: Louise is an employee at the Pentagon. She has never been interested in politics, but this year the presidential election has captured her interest. She has even gone so far as to put her candidate’s bumper sticker on her car which she drives to work every day and parks in the garage. Must she remove the sticker?
A: No. The Hatch Act and DoD Instruction 1344.10 do not prohibit federal employees from displaying a bumper sticker on their private vehicle on Government spaces. However, the vehicle cannot be used to perform official functions.
Do you see how ridiculously confusing this is?
A bumper sticker is okay but a flag is not? What? Because these Navy SEALs were “technically” at work and not “on their way” to work?
Not to mention, it’s a harmless, openly patriotic declaration that violates the law, which is ironic because that law also violates the First Amendment covering freedom of speech.
It’s time to do away with this nonsense and let people wear their views proudly and loudly.