Kris Paronto, the co-author of the book “13 Hours” who was on the ground in Benghazi, says the movie is “not a political movie” and criticized Republicans and Democrats for making it about politics.
Tuesday on CNN’s “The Lead” withe Jake Tapper, Paronto, insisted, “We know what happened. We’re just going to keep telling it like it is. We were told to stand down. We were told, like I said to wait twice, we were delayed more than a half hour, which caused another half hour for us to try and fight our way on the compound and it cost lives. And like I said, we’ll keep testifying to that as well.” (RELATED: Some Benghazi Witnesses Say They Were Given Stand-Down Orders)
Tapper asked Paronto what he thought about Clinton being too busy to see the film because of her campaign and Paronto said, “I honestly don’t expect her to see it, and that’s okay. I don’t care if she sees it or not. It’s not a political movie, it shouldn’t be.” (RELATED: Hillary Clinton On Seeing 13 Hours: ‘I’m Just Too Busy Campaigning’)
“The right shouldn’t be using it as a political movie as well. It’s a movie about courage and heroism. And as long as the American people see it, I’m happy,” Paronto said. “I just don’t want it to be turned into a political venue, it shouldn’t be. Benghazi has got such a negative connotation now. It needs to be seen as a positive event. Courageous action, honor, and integrity, and faith in each other, faith in God, faith in your brothers were exemplified that night and that’s what needs to be seen as now, as a positive event, not negative event.” (RELATED: Hillary Clinton Not Mentioned In New Film About Benghazi Attack)
Tapper then followed up, “What do you make of the fact that Ted Cruz is citing the film in debates, Donald Trump is renting out theaters to show the movie? Are you happy for that support or does it bother you because it becomes politicized?” (RELATED: ’13 Hours’ Is An Important Story, Well Told)
“No, I’ll be honest with you, no, I’m not because they are politicizing it,” Paronto argued. “That’s the problem, that was why the reason we came forward. It was because it was being used as ammunition from the right… the left using it to say the a conspiracy theory. We wanted to tell the truth, that’s the middle, the apolitical story of the courage that took place on the on the ground.”
Reiterating his earlier claim, “I’m not happy with it [being politicized]. We’re turning Benghazi into political fodder, it’s a political football. And the guys on the ground, when we’re fighting that night, bullets don’t care if you’re conservative or you’re liberal. They don’t care. You’re going to die either way. And we want to show that we were there fighting. Didn’t care if you’re black, white, red, yellow. Fighting together and trying to get each other home and trying to save lives and, again, just showing that there’s courage no matter what political side you’re on, or what faith you are or what ethnicity you are. It makes no difference. So no, I’m not happy with that,” Paronto said.
“The bottom line, that’s what you want people to take away from the film, the story of heroism and sacrifice,” Tapper asked.
“Yes, because that was exemplified and especially because I saw Ty [Woods] and Glenn [Doherty] get blown up in front of me. And that stays with me forever. Politics aren’t going to help that. So yes, I want people to see it because it should be inspirational film, not political film, which it’s not. And we wanted to make sure it wasn’t that way with the book.”