Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) has called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to strip benefits from any service members and veterans who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to a Monday report from Business Insider.
Gallego — a veteran himself — stated that those service members’ actions are “not representative of the large population of American veterans” and they should be punished accordingly.
What are the details?
Gallego, according to the outlet, asked Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough to withdraw benefits from those active duty service members, veterans, and military retirees who took part in the Jan. 6 riots in Washington, D.C.
In a letter, Gallego wrote, “The behavior of these individuals is not representative of the large population of American veterans, the vast majority of whom served honorably and are appalled by the thought of insurrection in the country they served. Yet, many of the veterans and service members who attacked their own government actively and enthusiastically enjoy special benefits given to them by their fellow citizens.”
Gallego continued, “This situation is unjust. Any veteran or service member who stormed the Capitol on January 6th forfeited their moral entitlement to privileged benefits at the expense of the people of the United States.”
The outlet noted that Gallego — who is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee — asked McDonough to work alongside U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to identify those veterans and service members who took part in the January riot.
He also sent similar letters to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
A January NPR report noted that almost 20% of the 140 people who were charged with crimes in connection with the riots have a military background.
Since then, federal prosecutors have charged more than 300 people in the attack.