A pair of veterans who walked out of a community meeting with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are firing back after her spokesman denied that they ever left the event.
Army veteran Anthony Vitaliano, 78, and Vietnam War veteran Silvio Mazzella, 74, not only confirmed during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Sunday that they did, in fact, leave the Bronx community board meeting held by the New York Democrat, they set the record straight about what happened that made them so angry.
(Video: Fox News)
The military veterans walked out of Ocasio-Cortez’s closed-door meeting with constituents in her New York district as she unloaded critical comments about President Donald Trump, U.S. foreign policy and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I just couldn’t hear her B.S. anymore,” Vitaliano initially told the New York Post. “I got up, got my umbrella in my hand and walked right out.”
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But Corbin Trent, Ocasio-Cortez’s spokesman, challenged the veteran’s account.
“The only person that left the meeting while it was underway was someone who had to go pick up their children,” he said.
Vitaliano shot down Trent’s narrative with the facts while taking a shot at Ocasio-Cortez for essentially ignoring her district.
“It was a prepared agenda for the — let’s put in this way, she is our congresswoman from January, we haven’t seen her in our area until May 28, Tuesday at 5:30. Everybody else in the United States has seen her except her own district,” he told Fox News hosts Jedediah Bila and Pete Hegseth.
He noted that the meeting was set to address local issues, which the freshman congresswoman certainly should be addressing as she is supposed to be representing her constituents. But the meeting direction turned after one board member – a Yemeni immigrant who is now a U.S. citizen – asked Ocasio-Cortez about the civil war in that country.
Vitaliano noted that this was the moment things got political and ultimately led to his departure, as the lawmaker took to blaming the U.S. for unrest in the region.
“This is what started me off. Her comment was that it’s ‘American bombs,’” Vitaliano recounted.
“That was insulting,” Mazzella interjected.
“I heard that, ‘American bombs.’ In my head, I say to myself, ‘what about the Iranian bullets and Iranian bombs? Aren’t they killing people, too?’” Vitaliano continued.
“Didn’t feel good,” Mazzella added. “‘It reminds me when I came home from ‘Nam and we had the protesters here. You know that’s not the way to treat people.”
The veterans pointed out other examples of disparaging comments by Ocasio-Cortez, including a negative characterization of Trump and Netanyahu as “two clones.”
“There was another insult. Israel is one of our strongest allies,” Mazzella explained. “To do something like that and come out with a statement like that is not, that’s not who we are.”
“It was like Netanyahu and the president are two peas in a pod,” Vitaliano said.
“They’re the same. They are no good. They are no good for the area. The area. And that’s where we got the second part about the tension in the Middle East what’s going on. Right after this is when I left,” he continued. “She says that the tension is being caused by President Trump because he withdrew from the Iran deal and that is why we are having all this tension. I think she should do her homework that tension has been going on since 1948.”
All of the rhetoric exasperated the men and Vitaliano said it was at that point that he decided he did not need to hear any more.
“I said, ‘That’s it, I gotta get outta there. It’s best for me to leave.’ And I picked my umbrella up and walked right out,” Vitaliano said.
“Better to walk out and be a gentleman than stay there,” Mazzella added emphatically. “I’m not going to stay there and take that.”
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