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Several state lawmakers who are military veterans are demanding Gov. Tom Wolf apologize for offensive statements he made Monday, directed at those critical of his executive order closing Pennsylvania businesses.

At a news conference Monday, Wolf used a military analogy to lash out at lawmakers and Pennsylvania business owners critical of his coronavirus mitigation strategy.

Wolf likened his strategy to war and vilified the politicians and business owners who disagree with him as cowards. He said they are surrendering to the enemy, and criticized business owners for putting potential customers in harm’s way.

“These folks are choosing to desert in the face of the enemy,” Wolf said.

Rep. Frank Ryan (R-Lebanon), Sen. Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster), Sen. Doug Mastriano (Adams/Cumberland/Franklin/York), Reps. Tim O’Neal (R-Washington), Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland) and Andrew Lewis (R-Dauphin) made the following statement in reaction to the governor’s remarks:

“As members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate, we take our responsibilities and oath of office to the constitutions of the United States of America and to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with great seriousness. The governor should also know that our oath of office is to the constitutions and our constituents not to one individual.

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Comparing actions to Band of Brothers hero

“We are proud that Maj. Dick Winters was a significant presence in Pennsylvania, and his legacy is a powerful example of strength under fire. In the movie, ‘Band of Brothers,’ Maj. Winters, then a lieutenant, had to stand up to his commanding officer, Capt. Herbert Sobel, when it mattered most. We, as legislators, feel that we must stand up for our constituents and Commonwealth as Dick Winters stood up to Capt. Sobel. Major Winters’ courage and fortitude demonstrated true leadership and saved the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of American service members during World War II.

“Those of us who have been in harm’s way understand brotherhood and the responsibility of command. It is called presence of mind. Defying inconsistent directives from the Department of Health that have indirectly caused significant loss of life in veterans’ homes, nursing homes and senior centers, we are compelled to exercise our leadership and command presence necessary to provide the appropriate checks and balances in our government of three co-equal branches.

“As U.S. military veterans, we are deeply offended at the governor’s flagrant use of military analogies to rail against private business owners and their elected representatives who were exercising their responsibilities. The governor’s remarks were shocking and extremely offensive. He demonstrated a complete lack of decorum and grace that is well beneath the dignity of his office.“

They called for “an immediate apology from Wolf.

”The public, veterans and lawmakers he attacked deserve (that apology)”, they said.

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    • Frank Ryan Representative – Retired Colonel Marine Corps reserves Frank’s military service includes three Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal and the U. S. Army Commendation Medal.

    • Representative Greg Rothman – Rothman enlisted in the Marine Corps during Operation Desert Storm. He served nearly 10 years in the Marine Corps Reserve, rising to the rank of staff sergeant before being honorably discharged in 2001. His service led the president of the United States to appoint him to the National Veterans Business Development Corporation board to encourage veterans to start entrepreneurial ventures

  1. it angers me that he would belittle anyone who is being honest loving people who wants to take care of their families. I honor them they aren’t cowards. If he wasn’t in the military he can’t act like he was. I had 3 brothers in Viet Nam at once. That was tough. My husband and son was in Desert Storm. He can’t hold a candle to any military person

  2. Ryan served as a captain in the United States Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. During his military career, Ryan earned several awards, including the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Army Parachutist Badge

  3. Representative Tim O’Neal – While an undergraduate, he served in the ROTC program at IUP and was a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard. After graduation, he served on active duty in Afghanistan, rising to the rank of captain. While in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” for valor.

  4. I want to thank these Representatives of the people for their exemplary service to our country first, and now as representatives of the people. I am sorry our Governor and certain elements of his administration have taken the position they have in this difficult situation. It is obvious there is much to learn from each other through this current partisan climate and acting in this manor is very unbecoming for people in their high positions.