Remember that Trump supporting “war hero” Fox “News” trotted out earlier this month? It turns out the guy never actually served.
A breathless Bryan Llenas gushed over 72-year-old John Garofalo as a Vietnam vet who served as a Navy SEAL for seven years and was honored with 22 commendations, including two Purple Hearts.
“The Vietnam War veteran served seven years as a member of the nation’s first Navy SEAL team. He was awarded 22 commendations, including two Purple Hearts.”
Bryan Llenas also declared, “He was listed twice during his service in Vietnam as missing in action.”
The story aired nationwide and the Facebook post went viral at over 1.5 million views.
And to make things even more heartwarming (if you’re a Fox News watcher), John Gar0falo’s also a glass artist who fashioned a massive presidential seal he wanted to present to the GOP’s president, Donald Trump. Llenas also called him a “hero” during the interview and described him as a “tough, tough man.”
In a later segment, Fox “News” anchor Eric Shawn declared, “God bless John Gar0falo. We certainly hope maybe the president is listening.” Fox News shared the video on their Facebook page. Although they later took both the post and their “news” report down, A Twitter user got a screen grab.
— Steven Candelaria (@StevoCandelaria) October 9, 2017
The Navy Times got a screen cap of the video from Facebook.
But when The Navy Times contacted John Gar0folo, he broke down and admitted he’d lied about serving in Vietnam, receiving a Purple Heart, and being a Navy SEAL. He said he’s been making these claims for years.
In a telephone interview, he said, “It got bigger and bigger. What I did I’m ashamed of, and I didn’t mean to cause so much disgrace to the SEALs.”
The Navy Times looked him up and found he was in the Navy from 1963-1967, but he was an aviation boatswain’s mate who helped maintain onboard aircraft. Furthermore, John Gar0folo only received one award: The National Defense Service Medal.
Fox finally took down their Facebook posts, published a correction on their website, and plan to air a retraction on Sunday. “We apologize to our viewers, especially veterans and servicemen and women,” they announced.
Former Navy SEALS also confirmed John Garofolo’s hoax. Don Shipley, who exposes false claims of military service, declared, “Fox News not withdrawing that story has drove me nutty. I don’t know who has the balls in this day and age to do something like that”
Featured image: Screen grab of deleted video with a tweet via Twitter.