*Days after he was caught on video shoving a young black woman at a Donald Trump rally, the Army veteran responsible for the act is voicing his regret over the incident.
According to Military.com, Alvin Bamberger, a member of the Korean War Veterans Association, detailed his feelings about shoving University of Louisville student Shiya Nwanguma in a letter sent to the association’s president, Larry Kinard.
“I have embarrassed myself, my family, and Veterans,” wrote Bamberger, who said that he deeply regrets his actions at the March 1 rally. “This was a very unfortunate incident and it is my sincere hope that I can be forgiven for my actions.”
In addition to expressing his regrets, Bamberger stated that he is not a racist, does not belong to any racist organizations and did not push Nwanguma because she is black. Instead, the 75-year-old veteran admitted that he “was caught up in the frenzy” of being surrounded by Trump’s supporters at the March 1 rally, including supporters whom he said were white supremacists. Adding to this, Bamberger mentioned in a statement to the KWVA that hearing Trump himself shout, “Get them out! Get them out!” in reference to the protesters was also a motivator.
Recalling the event, Bamberger noted that “everything seemed to be under control and mostly orderly” at first.
“All that changed when Trump got to the stage. Protestors in the crowd became vocal and began pushing and shoving their way toward the stage,” Bamberger wrote. “At one point I was physically knocked down and fell to the ground, losing my jacket (which was eventually returned to me). The protestors were holding up signs, chanting ‘black lives matter’ and pushing and shoving Trump supporters.
“Trump kept saying ‘get them out, get them out’ and people in the crowd began pushing and shoving the protestors,” he added. “Unfortunately a lot of this behavior was happening right next to where I was standing and having been pushed to the floor myself, my emotions got the best of me, and I was caught up in the frenzy. I physically pushed a young woman down the aisle toward the exit, an action I sincerely regret.”
It wasn’t until after the incident that Bamberger said he learned that some of the Trump supporters “standing right next to me” were members of a white supremacist group.
“Unfortunately my state of mind after being knocked down and hurt myself, and being caught between a group of white supremacists and Black Lives Matter protestors contributed to my behavior however, there is no excuse for my actions,” he wrote.
Bamberger’s letter follows the outrage that came after a viral video showed him getting into Nwanguma’s face and shouting, “Get out of here! We don’t want you here!” As the video continued, Bamberger, who was wearing a KWVA barracks cap and shirt, shoves Nwanguma as he follows her through the crowd.
Although the KWVA didn’t release a copy of Bamberger’s letter, Lawrence, Kansas –based radio station WSCH managed to obtain a copy, whose authenticity was confirmed to Military.com via officials with the group.
As it specifies in its code, KWVA members won’t engage in unlawful or unethical conduct, will be responsible to the organization for their actions, will respect the rights of others in regard to politics, sex, race, religion, and ethnic background, will conduct themselves with proper decorum and dignity and will do nothing to dishonor the KWVA.
While Bamberger stated his case in the letter, Military.com reports that the note doesn’t indicated if he contacted Nwanguma since the incident to personally apologize to her.
Weighing in on what happened, Kinard issued a previous statement to the site, saying Bamberger was not at the Trump rally representing the KWVA and that the group “does not, in any way, condone his actions.”
He further stated that the association will determine whether it should take any action regarding Bamberger after weighing all the facts. Despite initial reports saying that Bamberger was a member of a KWVA chapter in Cincinnati, Ohio, he revealed in his letter that he belongs to the organization’s Aurora, Indiana chapter. In an interview with WSCH, Bamberger confessed that he has been staying with family in Colorado since his encounter with Nwanguma.