Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh is once again attacking his opponent Tammy Duckworth’s distinguished military service, claiming at a town hall meeting over the weekend that Duckworth is not a “true hero.”
Duckworth lost both of her legs and partial use of her right arm after her helicopter was hit by a rocket propelled grenade while she was serving in Iraq in 2004. During her distinguished 20 year career she won a Purple Heart, an Air Medal, and an Army Commendation Medal.
But according to Walsh — who has never served in the military — Duckworth needs to stop talking about her service. Apparently you’re no longer a hero if you use your experience to beat Walsh in an election.
Think Progress has a transcript of Walsh’s comments:
Understand something about John McCain. His political advisers, day after day, had to take him and almost throw him against a wall and hit him against the head and say, “Senator, you have to let people know you served! You have to talk about what you did!” He didn’t want to do it, wouldn’t do it. Day after day they had to convince him. Finally, he talked a little bit about it, but it was very uncomfortable for him. That’s what’s so noble about our heroes. Now I’m running against a woman who, my God, that’s all she talks about. Our true heroes, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about. That’s why we’re so indebted and in awe of what they’ve done.
This is not the first time that Walsh has attacked Duckworth’s service; in March, he suggested that Duckworth “move on,” and described her by saying “What else has she done? Female, wounded veteran…ehhh.”
Walsh, a Tea Party favorite, has been a magnet for controversy throughout his campaign. Last summer he attracted headlines for failing to pay child support to his ex-wife, and in November a video of Walsh screaming at his constituents for criticizing big banks went viral.
UPDATE: Walsh has released a statement clarifying his remarks:
Of course Tammy Duckworth is a hero. I have called her a hero 100’s of times in the past four months. Just like every man and woman who has worn the uniform, her service demands — demands — our utmost respect. That’s why I recognize our veterans at the beginning of every one of my public town halls. However, unlike most veterans I have had the honor to meet since my election to Congress, who rarely if ever talk about their service or the combat they’ve seen, that is darn near all of what Tammy Duckworth talks about. Her service demands our thanks and our respect but not our vote. She is running for Congress — and there are real problems in this country like our massive debt, high unemployment and the Obamacare tax. We are about four months from Election Day and the people of Illinois have no idea where Tammy Duckworth stands on these issues because she dodges debate requests, ignores our invitations to speak at town halls, refuses to talk about solutions and constantly reminds voters of her war service. Our thoughts and prayers will always be with her for her service and her loss but these are serious times and the people of Illinois deserve to know what she thinks about real issues and what she will do as a Congresswoman.