FRESNO, Calif.(KSEE/KGPE)- On Thursday night Fresno State College Republicans allegedly tweeted controversial comments to a combat veteran of Afghanistan.
In a tweet, the University indicated that school officials had been made aware of comments from a student group that were “inconsistent” with the school’s values, and that the matter had been sent to the Dean of Students for further review.
The university would not comment further on the incident. The corresponding Twitter thread from the university’s tweet below indicated the Fresno State Republicans had made incendiary comments about veterans and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to students and community members’ comments.
The now-deleted tweets from the Fresno State GOP group set off a social media firestorm.
This exchange began after 33-year-old veteran Patrick Loller posted a video to TikTok and Twitter criticizing those who are against masks amid COVID-19. Loller is a disabled veteran of Afghanistan and lives in New York City.
Loller says a few days ago, the video went viral on several conservative Twitter accounts, and was re-tweeted by the Fresno State Republicans, where the group made the controversial comments.
In Loller’s video expressing anger about people who are anti-mask wearing, they say, “If you don’t wear a mask, it’s because you’re a coward. And that’s coming from me, a combat veteran!”
Loller says about a day ago the video was discovered by the Fresno State College Republicans, who in a now-deleted tweet, lashed out at Loller, telling them “You’re such a hero that you’ll break down when I light fireworks next door.” Another now-deleted Tweet directed at Loller said the majority of the military are “glorified DMV employees.” Loller was surprised that backlash came from a student group at a university, and that the group seemingly made fun of veterans with PTSD.
“I do have PTSD, I do have a reaction to fireworks,” Loller said over a Zoom interview. “I was in an explosion. We were in pretty sustained combat for a few months, we got rocketed a lot.”
In 2010, Loller served in Afghanistan as a combat medic in the army. Loller says they were on the front lines, dealing with frequent combat, I.E.D. explosives, and suicide bombers. The physical and mental wounds lead Loller to live on disability to this day. They say help is hard for veterans to get.
“We get sort of touted out, and we get pulled out at the football game: ‘Look at these heroes! Aren’t they great?’ And then we get ignored while we ask for help or try to get medical care,” Loller said
On Friday morning, the Fresno State College Republicans released a statement on Twitter, alluding that the controversial tweets were sent by someone who should not have had access to the group’s account.
It is still unclear if Fresno State University will take any disciplinary action.