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Milton official steps down after using coded anti-Biden phrase in Memorial Day speech

Steven D. Fruzzetti in 2016.handout

A Milton official has resigned from his elected post after he used a coded phrase intended to insult President Biden during his remarks at a town Memorial Day observance on Monday, according to the town clerk and video of the event.

Steven D. Fruzzetti has resigned as a trustee of the Milton Cemetery, Milton Town Clerk Susan M. Galvin said in a brief interview Friday evening. His resignation was first reported in the Patriot-Ledger.

Fruzzetti, who also represents the Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth district in the Massachusetts Republican Committee, did not respond to e-mail and voicemail requests for comment Friday evening.

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Galvin said she could not share Fruzzetti’s letter of resignation or comment on the reason for him stepping down. But video of the annual Memorial Day observance at Milton Cemetery that was posted online by Milton Access Television shows Fruzzutti saying, “Welcome, and let’s go, Brandon,” about 15 minutes and 40 seconds into the recording.

“Let’s go, Brandon,” has become code among Republicans who strongly oppose Biden ever since fans cheering Nascar driver Brandon Brown after a win last October first appeared to be chanting that phrase but turned out to be shouting, “F--- Joe Biden,” according to the Associated Press.

On Thursday, the Milton Interfaith Clergy Association called for Fruzzetti to apologize and take a leave of absence from any leadership positions in the town.

“Mr. Fruzzetti brought disrespect, dishonor and disgrace to one of America’s most solemn civic holidays; a day where the sole focus is to remember and honor all Americans who put their lives on the line to defend our country,” the association said in a letter to the Milton community.

“Mr. Fruzzetti’s words were grossly irresponsible,” the letter continued. “He took advantage of the opportunity and privilege to offer welcoming remarks on behalf of his fellow Cemetery Trustees and chose to conclude with a coded, personal, partisan shot that insulted the Commander in Chief of all our armed forces, the President of the United States.”

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The Rev. Thomas Getchell-Lacey, the interfaith association’s treasurer, said he had arrived at the Memorial Day event late and missed Fruzzetti’s words in the moment but later watched them on video.

“I was very disappointed that an elected official used their privilege of being asked to speak in this particular situation to make a very partisan — and, I would add, inappropriate; some would go as far as to say vulgar — statement,” Getchell-Lacey, the pastor of Parkway United Methodist Church in Milton, said in an interview Friday night. “He’s entitled to his political opinions, but this really was not the best or the most appropriate place and time for him to share those opinions.”

Getchell-Lacey said he learned of Fruzzetti’s resignation Friday morning and considered it an appropriate step.

“I’m hoping that Mr. Fruzzetti will use this time to reflect upon the trust that we place in our elected officials to represent us and represent the community in a positive way,” he said.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.