rep. gallego military capitol Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz.
(Greg Nash/Pool via AP)

The Iraq War veteran is appalled by the disrespect of some military service members and veterans who would attack the same government they signed up to protect.

As a veteran, Arizona Rep. Rubén Gallego is appalled by the disrespect of some military service members and veterans who would attack the same government they signed up to protect. Gallego, an Iraq War veteran, said it was unacceptable that members of the military would storm the Capitol building and called for them to be punished for their actions. 

“If any military members/retirees were in the lynch mob that attacked the Capitol, we need to throw the book at them as the terrorists they are,” Rep. Gallego said. “Take rank, take pay, throw them in the brig. @RepSaraJacobs and I think DoD should prosecute those who sully their oaths.”

The Democratic lawmaker, along with Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, requesting to prosecute active military and veterans involved in the attack on Capitol Hill. 

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“Please direct the Department’s investigatory agencies to work closely with the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify any current members of the military who participated in the attack to charge and prosecute them under all relevant Uniform Code of Military Justice authorities,” the letter states.

During an interview with CNN, Rep. Gallego said he has several friends that are veterans and supporters of President Donald Trump, but added they would have never rioted at the Capitol. 

“None of them would do something like this,” Gallego said. “This is a very extreme group, and this is why we have to punish them and punish them hard so that other military personnel and veterans understand this is not acceptable.”

On Jan. 6, thousands of right-wing extremists invaded the Capitol building. Many of them wore Trump paraphernalia, and others were seen wearing military gear. It is unclear how many active military service members and veterans were part of last week’s attack on Capitol Hill. 

However, one of the five people who lost their lives was 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran from Southern California, who was shot by a Capitol Hill police officer after breaking into the building. 

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Army officials are investigating the involvement of Capt. Emily Rainey, an officer stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, who led a group to the rally hosted by President Donald Trump. Rainey, who is part of the 4th Psychological Operations Group, said she was there as a private citizen and “doing everything right and within my rights.” She has since resigned from the military.