A former US Navy SEAL had some choice words for a group of left-wing protesters who burned a US flag outside of California Representative Maxine Waters’ LA office on Thursday.
Waters said the group of protestors -who were behaving poorly and were allegedly not entirely from her district- were outside her office as a planned demonstration against a right-leaning constitutional militia group known as the Oath Keepers, which is made up primarily of current or former military, law enforcement and first responders.
The Oath Keepers were founded by Stewart Rhodes, an ex-US Army Paratrooper, Yale Law School Graduate and former staffer for Republican Congressman Ron Paul.
In anticipation of the Oath Keepers, the group burned a US flag and chanted “America was never great” and “black power.”
Waters (D-Calif.) released a statement, saying that while she didn’t agree with burning the flag, she understood the protesters’ constitutional rights to burn the flag and opposes the Oath Keepers, who never showed up to the event.
“I must once again reiterate that non-violent and peaceful protest is a right we are all entitled to under the Constitution,” she wrote on Saturday. “This is even true for a group as repugnant as the Oath Keepers, and anti-government militia known for its intimidation tactics and for protesting in military-style clothing while carrying assault weapons. While I was very concerned about their planned protest at my office because of the group’s reputation for being armed, I honored their right to do so anyway. This is precisely why I implored the community through a widely distributed written statement to not engage the Oath Keepers and to refrain from staging a counter-protest in response to their militant tactics and racist rhetoric.”
Waters made sure, however, to distance herself from the actions of the protestors, even claiming that some -if not all- involved in the flag-burning were not from her district.
“I have learned that there were others in attendance who were not necessarily from the 43rd District, but who nevertheless participated as countfer-protestors not so much in support of me, but to seek press attention in furtherance of their own agendas.”
New York congressional candidate and former SEAL Dan DeBono fired back, saying that while burning the flag is legal, it is “unacceptable and despicable.”
“The American flag represents hundreds of years of history, and there has been a tremendous amount of bloodshed in the name of that flag,” he told Fox News. “It represents our way of life and our system. And while burning the flag is an acceptable form of protest under the law, it’s something that…my brothers and I.. find unacceptable, and despicable.”
DeBono added that burning the flag only makes protestors look bad, and serves to harden the resolve of those who hold it sacred.
“The flag represents all of our ideals, our way of life, our freedom,” he said. “It represents their ability to protest that. But they’re only bringing dishonor upon themselves by doing what they’re doing.”
According to his campaign page, DeBono comes from a long line of veterans in his family, from his father’s service in Korea to his grandfather’s service in World War I. His two brothers served in the US Navy during Operation Desert Storm and the Bosnian conflict.
DeBono joined Navy ROTC in 1986, eventually finding himself on SEAL Team Two. He completed one tour during the Bosnian War.
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