President Barack Obama accused members of the military who perpetrate sexual assaults of “betraying the uniform” they wear after the Pentagon reported Tuesday that there are more than 70 sexual assaults involving members of the armed forces each day.
“They may consider themselves patriots, but when you engage in that kind of behavior, it’s not patriotic, it’s a crime,” Obama said at a joint press conference with South Korean President Park Geun-hye that also touched on conflicts in Syria and North Korea.
Obama said he’s asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to “not just step up our game, we have to exponentially step up our game to go at this thing hard” to combat sexual assaults in the armed forces.
“If people have engaged in this behavior, they should be prosecuted. And anybody in the military who has knowledge of this stuff should understand this is not who we are, this is not what the U.S. military is about, and it dishonors the vast majority of men and women in uniform who carry out their responsibilities and obligations with honor and dignity and incredible courage every single day,” the president said. “Bottom line is, I have no tolerance for this.”
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