Washington Free Beacon

Issa Slams Protesters for Taking a Knee During Veterans’ Rally Outside His Office

Rep. Darrell Issa / Getty Images

Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) blasted a group of opponents who regularly demonstrate outside his district office for taking a knee Tuesday when military veterans played the national anthem at a pro-Issa rally.

One of the organizers of Flip the 49th Neighbors in Action, a group aimed at ousting Issa from Congress, is heard using a bullhorn to call on fellow protesters to "take a knee, if you choose" in a video of the protest. Several of the protesters are then shown crouching down on one knee.

The Flip the 49th Group is a 527 organization, a type of political committee criticized by the left and the right as conduits for unlimited dark money in politics. The group holds weekly protests outside Issa's district offices in Vista, Calif.

Issa is attempting to retain his seat in Congress after narrowly defeating his Democratic opponent in 2016, even as the district voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by seven points.

The 49th district, which Issa represents, includes Camp Pendleton, one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the country with 42,000 active duty personnel working there, and more than 77,000 retired personnel residing nearby.

"The 49th district is home to the Marines of Camp Pendleton and their families, and generations of veterans from all of our armed services," Issa said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. "Taking a knee during the anthem is an affront to our nation and disrespectful to those who have served."

The military veterans who played the national anthem held the rally at Issa's office Tuesday to call on the Flip the 49th group to return a $100,000 donation from Jane Fonda. Several of the veterans angrily denounced the efforts by Fonda and others in Hollywood to try to influence the election in the Northern San Diego district.

The Fonda donation amounts to nearly one-quarter of the total $440,000 the group has collected so far. The group also has taken smaller checks from Leonardo DiCaprio, Ted Danson, Bill Maher, and Jay Leno through his private grant-making organization, the JDM Foundation.

The veterans recalled Fonda's controversial 1972 photo shoot in North Vietnam where she was photographed sitting behind an enemy anti-aircraft gun. The stunt earned the actress the nickname "Hanoi Jane."

More recently, conservatives have criticized Fonda for saying she isn't proud of America during an interview last fall with the BBC.

During the interview, Fonda was asked "Are you proud of America today?"

She replied "no," then added, "But, I’m proud of the resistance."

"I'm proud of the people who are turning out in unprecedented numbers and continue over and over and over again to protest what Trump is doing. I'm proud of them, that core."

A spokesman for the Flip the 49th group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Issa campaign spokesman Calvin Moore said the members of the Flip the 49th group are "the hardest left of the Democratic Party" and outside the mainstream of the district's voters.

"It's not where this district is, and that type of message just isn't going to resonate here," he said.