Navy Vet Disrespected by Virginia Congressman
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 11, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: As the budget battle was heating up in Washington last week, many Democrats resorted to using rhetoric that was anything but civil while delivering their message. Congressman Jim Moran was one of them and his mistreatment of a Navy veteran was all caught on tape. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM APRIL 7, ALEXANDRIA, VA.)
WAYNE TUNIC, U.S. NAVY VETERAN: I'm a 27-year veteran, disabled veteran. So, I don't understand why every person in Congress is not in Congress tonight. I don't understand how you can stand up there and try to justify that this thing may actually go longer because Congress is on vacation. That is absurd.
REP. JIM MORAN, D-VA.: Not much point to my standing in an empty chamber through the evening, is there? There seems to me, there is a point to making myself available for people who want to make caustic comments as well as people who have legitimate questions to ask as to what might happen if there is a government shutdown.
TUNIC: I take exception to calling my comment caustic.
MORAN: Oh fine! Now I'm talking! And you can sit down, you are finished.
TUNIC: I really do take exception --
MORAN: I'm sure you do.
TUNIC: I didn't say anything caustic.
MORAN: You had an opportunity to speak, now it is time to sit down.
TUNIC: Well I take exception to you calling my comments caustic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNITY: All right. Joining me now to respond to the congressman is Wayne Tunic who is a retired Navy captain, he honorably served this country for more than 26 years. Captain, thank you so much for being with us, I appreciate your time tonight.
TUNIC: Thank you for having me on. It's a pleasure to be here.
HANNITY: Not only did you serve for 26-and-a-half years. So, I understand also you're disabled. What is your disability?
TUNIC: Well, I have been rated by the veteran administration for various things. I don't think it is important that I go into that. I'm here to talk about the troops, and not me.
HANNITY: All right. And as I understand, this was your very first town hall. You went there to speak about this specific issue. Tell us what you were trying to tell the congressman before he lectured you to sit down on a number of occasions?
TUNIC: Well, what I was trying to tell the congressman and again, my beef is not with the congressman per se, obviously it became emotional. And I'm sure he's an honorable man. But my point was that the troops' pay was potentially going to be in jeopardy. That led to a lot of people being concerned. Families and et cetera, and my point to him was, when will the troops be paid? And could the congressman work together by getting into Congress the night before and at least getting the troops pay saved so that that wouldn't be stopped.
HANNITY: Yes. Well, first of all, an honorable thing to do. We know that a lot of our military personnel live paycheck-to-paycheck. We've heard stories about military families being on food stamps, et cetera. So, this is a passionate issue.
I understand you're saying he's an honorable man. But, when he lectures you to sit down again and again, now I'm talking, you sit down, you've had your say. And as impatient as he was, you know, what was your reaction to that?
TUNIC: Well, I've been lectured a lot worse throughout my almost 27 years in the Navy. So that again, it is not about me. I just wanted to try to get an answer to the fact that our troops, like you said, a lot of them live paycheck-to-paycheck. I've been the commanding officer of two squadrons and I know how tough it is for a lot of them. They're young and they have families. And they can't afford to miss half a paycheck or anything.
So, what I think is important is, we did not get a stoppage in the government, which is great. But, I think a lesson to be learned there is, let's make sure that that doesn't even happen again. So, the troops and their families don't have to worry about it.
HANNITY: If we take the term public servant and we break that term down, aren't elected officials there is to serve the community, serve the public? In light of that, did you think he was being of service to you when he's telling you that basically shut up and sit down?
TUNIC: Well, I think he was trying to provide a service to the community. And you have to give him credit for having a town hall meeting to try to give them information. Again, like I said the other day on TV, I'm from New York, so I can take it when somebody says something to me. But I just hope the point doesn't get lost on me and the discussion. And that is, let's take care of our troops. That's the most important thing.
HANNITY: Is there anything else you wanted to say to him before he was telling you to well, basically, shut you up and told you to sit down, and anything else you wanted to add to what you have been saying?
TUNIC: The only thing that I have to say is that again, I'm sure that he's an honorable gentleman. I'm an American and I respect my congressman. But if I could ask for one thing to be learned from this is, let's make sure we take care of the troops and prevent any type of issues with pay in the future.
HANNITY: I totally agree with that. And Wayne, Captain, thank you so much for being with us. Thank you for your time.
TUNIC: Thank you.
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