Military Families

Gold Star family members say they were assaulted during inaugural ball festivities

Family members share their side of the story

 

A massive group of violent demonstrators spat on, assaulted and screamed obscenities at a Gold Star widow and sister Friday outside an inaugural ball honoring the military, one of the women told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday.

Amy Looney, who lost her husband Navy SEAL Lt. Brendan Looney in 2010, and Ryan Manion, whose brother Marine First Lt. Travis Manion died in 2007, said they were attacked as they tried to enter the American Legion’s tribute to Medal of Honor recipients at the Veterans Inaugural Ball.

“Unfortunately, as we got there we found ourselves separated from the rest of the group walking to the galas that night and were caught in between the entrance to the event and about 75 protesters that got very angry with us and really converged on us,” Manion said on “Fox & Friends.”

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That’s when events quickly escalated.

“We were pushed by a man in a mask hiding his face,” Manion wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Our clothes were drawn on with permanent marker by other ‘protesters.’ And we were called the most vile names I have ever heard as we entered and exited the venue.”

Manion said that she and Looney – who operate the Travis Manion Foundation – did not attend the ball for political reasons and that the pair support President Donald Trump just as they “supported the previous administration and just like we will support every future administration that the American people elect.”

Looney and Manion were initially late to the ball because they couldn’t get through “an angry mob in the street that was burning trash cans and smashing windows,” Manion wrote on Facebook. When they eventually got near the entrance a group of around 75 people tried separating them from the ball. It was as the two women walked through the crowd that people began pushing them and yelling insults.

“We understand more than most how fortunate we are to live in a country where we can demonstrate and share our different beliefs,” Manion wrote. “But my question for those who chose to take this route Friday is this: Are you truly accomplishing anything by inciting hate?”

The alleged events Friday night followed rioting and destruction earlier in the day by so-called protesters upset by Trump’s election. Trash cans were set ablaze, merchants' windows were smashed and a limousine was even torched during the mayhem.

Said Looney: “To witness this act, and to see – I hate to even refer to it as protesting, because it was an accelerated version of that to say the least – was really hard when we try to instill unity versus creating more division.”