Amanda Makki Signs Veterans’ Wall, Only to be Removed

Faye Higbee
amanda makki

The race for Florida’s District 13 Congressional seat is a quagmire, thanks to candidate Amanda Makki. Air Force veteran Anna Paulina Luna, the front runner, has been continually accosted by Amanda with lies and harassment that go far beyond a normal political campaign. Anyone who runs for office can expect to take hits… but there is a limit to the scope of them. This one is out of hand.

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Makki attempted to spin the cover of Ballistic magazine to accuse Luna of stolen valor. Anna Paulina Luna was featured on the cover of Ballistic magazine last year for her campaign’s fierce defense of the second amendment. She has never claimed to be a “combat veteran,” only a veteran. Veterans who read the article and who know her are well aware that she has never claimed something she is not. There is no stolen valor by Luna. Makki, on the other hand…

Stolen valor:

Stolen valor: the definition includes the act of falsely claiming military service, falsely claiming a certain rank which was not earned, and can also include the wear or claim of certain military awards or decorations that were never actually awarded.

Military Benefits

Makki herself was never a veteran. Veterans and Combat Veterans alike have noted that Anna Paulina Luna is not the one with stolen valor – Amanda Makki meets the very definition of it. She is going to great lengths to lie about both Luna and her decorated veteran husband.

Amanda Makki’s signature was removed after local veterans checked her out.

The sad part about this is that Amanda Makki seems to think she’s entitled to honor as a veteran, when she never served in the military. According to one of the owners of a coffee shop called “Conservative Grounds,” Makki walked into the shop and added her name to the “Wall of Honor” which is specifically for veterans who have served in the different branches of the military. It is clearly marked as such. When a couple of the older veterans present checked her out, they found that she worked as an attorney at the Pentagon, but had never served in the military. They removed her name from the wall. For someone who claims to understand veterans, she is more “shady” than smart.

Harassment at Bay Pines Veteran Cemetery

At a Wreaths Across America event at the Bay Pines veterans cemetery on December 18, Anna Paulina Luna and her decorated combat veteran husband, Andy Gamberzky were accosted by volunteers of Makki. Two of them created a scene at the event, damaging the atmosphere of the wreath-laying.

The Makki volunteers apparently were unhappy that Anna and her husband were wearing shirts that had her campaign logo on them. They loudly accused the couple of “violating the Hatch Act.” Except that the Hatch Act is about Government employees, which does not apply to Anna or her husband. Neither one of them are government employees. So either these staffers of Amanda Makki are totally ignorant and don’t understand the Hatch Act, or the candidate herself or the candidate herself has an agenda not conducive to veterans.

Anna Paulina Luna and her husband Andy Gamberzky- photo provided, not related to the Bay Pines ceremony

Temper tantrum

The disrespectful scene at Bay Pines was witnessed by many – here is a report from local media:

Luna was interrupted by Makki campaign volunteers whilst speaking with another veteran. According to those present, a younger man and middle aged woman were seen verbally accosting Luna. They were upset Luna’s shirt had her campaign logo on it. Luna turned her shirt inside out.

The Makki volunteer reportedly got angry during the exchange and began to walk away. Immediately thereafter, witnesses say he turned back to Gamberzky and threatened to fight him, got in his face, poked his chest and proceeded to tell Gamberzky he didn’t do enough for his country because ‘he came back alive’ (after Gamberzky was shot in Afghanistan in 2014), all of this stemmed from the shirt incident.

The volunteer said it goes against the Hatch Act, which is not true because Luna’s husband is not a federal employee.

Another volunteer made off-color racial remarks and claimed that the couple are not veterans before the event, according to witnesses.

The Florida Conservative Voice

Who does that? Walk up to a decorated veteran and threaten them? Then tell someone who has literally shed his blood for America that he hasn’t done enough because he’s still alive? Any candidate worth their salt would have immediately apologized to everyone and dragged the offending volunteers off. But no, Makki did nothing. Which says a lot about her…none of it good.

Witness veteran Dean Dauphinais gave this statement:

“I am part of United Cape Patriots and met Anna Paulina Luna today December 18th at Veterans Memorial Park for Wreaths Across America. While I was speaking to Anna, a woman who was with a rival candidate from another campaign came up to yell at Anna and her husband after she was asked to place wreaths by the event organizer. My two young daughters were present and while she was yelling at Anna, it scared my 4 year old granddaughter to the point of her asking me why they were doing that.  Anna’s husband is a Purple Heart and bronze star recipient.  Luna was respectful and let the woman know it was not the time to have the discussion.  This was terrible behavior for any one person to exhibit but more alarming that this came from a candidate who is running against Anna and claims to understand veterans. Disrespecting veterans should never be tolerable. Especially at a Christmas memorial at bay pines. This was disgusting behavior.” 

Dean Dauphinais in Pinellas Town News

When the Editor in Chief of the Florida Conservative Voice, Brendon Leslie, started to publish a news story about the Bay Pines incident, he was threatened with a libel suit. Unfortunately for the person who made the threat, there were numerous witnesses who debunked the claims by Makki’s campaign, so the attempt to “scare him” did not work. Makki refused to condemn any of their actions.

[“Be very careful what you publish about the events at Bay Pines for Wreaths Across America – your information is inaccurate and you may be libelous. Anna’s husband verbally accosted a volunteer not a staffer when asked why he didn’t turn his campaign shirt around (which he was asked to do as it was in violation of the Hatch Act) he is NOT a victim here – get your facts straight. Amy Harris” email to Brendon Leslie.]

The person who issued the threat alleged that Luna’s husband told the volunteer to “Go F*** yourself” after he was asked to turn the shirt inside out. His shirt was NOT a violation of the Hatch Act. Apparently some at the event did not understand that.

I’m the editor in chief of FLconservativevoice.com. We were made aware of the incident on Sunday. We reached out to a mayor who endorsed her and Makki for comment on my report and they took three days to respond. The mother of the guy who allegedly threatened Anna’s husband emailed me threatening a lawsuit before I even published the article. After posting the article, Makki called it fake news and then she sent me a statement from the mother saying everything in my story is wrong but she wasn’t even there. So I reported both sides, didn’t make any claims myself, and they keep saying I’m libel. 

Brendon Leslie, Editor in Chief, Florida Conservative Voice

Rick Ferran, a Marine Corps veteran, had this to say:

I am truly angry to hear that a fellow Veteran- a decorated one- and a friend were treated with such disrespect by a volunteer of Amanda Makki. Placing politics aside, every veteran should remember this story when it’s time to vote. Amanda Makki should be exposed as a fraud for using our Veteran status for political gain. Anna Paulina Luna and her husband continue to do phenomenal work for our Veterans. They have a track record of raising funds and being hands on when it comes to veteran issues, why? Because they are both Veterans. Americans who not only have served their country with pride but continue to do so in our local community. I will not stand for any of my brothers and sisters to be attacked or discriminated against, especially from someone who hasn’t served a day in their lives. I will share this story far and wide to let every Veteran in FLORIDA know who to vote for Election Day. 

Rick Ferran 
USMC Veteran 3/7 Lima Co 0311 

Pinellas County has one of the largest veteran populations in Florida. Anna Paulina Luna is a Trump-endorsed candidate and the front runner.

The Hatch Act does not apply to private citizens.  All of these people and the candidate they say they represent owe Andy Gamberzky, his wife, the organizers of the Wreaths Across America Event at the Bay Pines National Cemetery, and all of the veterans present at that event an apology.  

David Happe, Editor of Pinelles Town News

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Featured screenshot, provided

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