“She knocks the country, she knocks the president. And that’s not what America is about,” said Silvio Mazzella, a Vietnam War vet and treasurer of Community Board 11.
Anthony Vitaliano — an Army veteran who worked in the NYPD for 38 years, and commanded the Bronx’s homicide detectives — was sitting between Ocasio-Cortez and a staffer for the freshman Dem.
“She knocks the country, she knocks the president. And that’s not what America is about.”
— Silvio Mazzella, Vietnam War vet
“I just couldn’t hear her BS anymore,” the former CB11 chairman said. “I just got up, got my umbrella in my hand and walked right out.”
“I just couldn’t hear her BS anymore. I just got up, got my umbrella in my hand and walked right out.”
— Anthony Vitaliano, Army veteran who worked in the NYPD for 38 years
— New York Post (@nypost) June 1, 2019
AOC held the closed-door meeting with about a dozen members of the board on Wednesday night, marking a rare visit to the Bronx part of her district.
One Middle Eastern board member raised the issue of the conflict in Yemen.
The progressive firebrand slammed the US policy of providing bombs to Saudi Arabia, which has supported Yemen’s government in a brutal civil war, according to attendees. Some blamed her for not including the roles of other nations in explaining the volatile region’s violence.
“Talking about America, that really turned me off completely,” said Mazzella, 74, who said he fought in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968.
When Israel came up later in the meeting, Ocasio-Cortez suggested President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are autocrats, according to a person at the meeting.
“I was revolted,” said the attendee, who didn’t want his name published.
He, Mazzella and Vitaliano said they all walked out in disgust before the end of the session.
Earlier, board members complained about problems with the US Postal Service, which regularly misses mail deliveries and a local Amtrak property that is a magnet for graffiti vandals. CB 11 is a working-class neighborhood on the eastern side of the Bronx covering Allerton, Morris Park, Pelham Gardens and Van Nest. In addition to parts of the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez’s district includes north-central Queens.
“Did she care about the issues? She wrote them down,” said Vitaliano, 78. “The jury will be out on the local issues.”
She “danced around the whole” question of Columbus Day, for which the neighborhood holds a parade every year, said Vitaliano, who supports creating a day for indigenous people but wants to preserve the treasured Italian-American tradition.
The room wasn’t entirely hostile to AOC, though. One attendee said, “There were a lot of people that really adored what she was saying.”
AOC’s office denied that anyone stormed out of the meeting.
“The only person that left the meeting while it was underway was someone who had to go pick up their children,” said AOC spokesman Corbin Trent.
Asked about Trent’s comment, Vitaliano said, “That’s bulls–t. Everybody that was there knows I walked out.”
Author: Isabel Vincent, Shant Shahrigian