A spokeswoman for Wright-Patterson said the base does not comment on political activities.
Gasper’s remarks were made at the Greater Dayton Real Estate Investors Association’s “Meet The Candidates” event Wednesday night in Fairborn. Turner was invited, but did not attend or send a surrogate despite multiple invitations, the association’s treasurer said. A Turner spokesman said he was giving an address Wednesday night concerning national security at “the prestigious Union League in New York.” The league is an exclusive, invitation-only social club in Manhattan.
The 12-second clip begins with Gasper saying she appreciated being at the event, followed by, “I want to comment one more thing on Wright-Patt. It is an enduring base, it’s never going to close, unless someone blows it up.” The video abruptly ends, leaving unclear any reaction to the remark without gleaning any additional context for Gasper’s comments.
At the press conference, Turner said one of his staff members sent him the clip, but said, “I don’t know where they got it,” leaving unclear who took the video. A campaign spokeswoman later acknowledged a campaign staff member “caught it on video.”
Congressman Mike Turner at a press conference Monday with retired Wright-Patterson firefighter Roy Colbrunn and Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, who is also chair of the Montgomery County Republican Party. Photo by Jim Otte.
In a phone call with the Dayton Daily News, Marsha Grosmann, the investor association’s treasurer, at first said she did not remember Gasper’s comment, but when the remarks were read back to her by a reporter she corroborated the account.
“The base has been an integral part of our community here, a lot of members are either current or former Air Force members or employees out at the base, and it was just a comment of hers that we were absolutely shocked that she would think that,” Grosmann said. “That’s why there was just absolute silence.”
“I don’t think it’s something she should apologize for, but I think it’s something she should have thought of before she said it, unless that’s what she thinks, in which case it was an honest opinion,” Grosmann said.
Wright-Patterson is one of the largest domestic military bases and is the largest single-site employer in Ohio. Last month, it was the site of an active shooter scare. The incident remains under investigation.
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