Illinois Senator Ladda Tammy Duckworth has many firsts to her name.
She was among the first handful of Army women to fly combat, until her helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in the autumn of 2004 over Iraq, making her the first female double amputee from that war.
Duckworth is the first Thai American woman elected to Congress, the first person born in Thailand elected to Congress, the first female veteran with a disability elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and to the Senate, the first female double amputee in the Senate, the first senator to give birth while holding office, “the first mama-daughter team [to] appear on the chamber floor during a vote.”
But, tragically, during the Trump presidency, another dubious “first” has been disgracefully attached to her service: She is the first American hero, along with so many other military servicemen and women, to be blasphemed, berated, ridiculed by a sitting American president. A man who has called those who did not make it back from battle “losers” and suckers.”
Already three weeks ago, after Trump failed to confront Putin about Russia’s alleged payment of bounties to Afghan forces for the killing of American troops, Duckworth had Trump pegged correctly.
With the U.S. Capitol in the background, standing next to her wheelchair with her prosthetic legs showing, Duckworth said:
[Our service members] have a coward in chief who won’t stand up to Vladimir Putin, read his daily intelligence briefings, or even publicly admonish adversaries for reportedly putting bounties on our troops heads.
I just received correspondence from the Senator (as I am sure many others also have) in which she reflects on the most recent despicable revelations about the 45th American presidient.
I would like to share parts with our readers:
President Trump called Americans who died in war “losers” and “suckers.”
He got furious when he saw flags at half-mast after John McCain died, asking “What the f*** are we doing that for? Guy was a f**** loser.”
And in a White House meeting, Trump asked that wounded Veterans be excluded from a military parade because “nobody wants to see” amputees.
He’s talking about people like me, who lost limbs while defending our country but had the audacity to come back home, have families and even (gasp!) go in public where people can see us.
Well, I’d take my wheelchair and titanium legs over Donald Trump’s supposed bone spurs any day.
He has insulted war heroes, attacked Gold Star families and tried to politicize and pervert our military to stroke his own ego.
He’s shown more respect for tyrants like Putin who manipulate him like a puppet and reportedly put bounties on our troops’ heads than for the brave men and women who wear our nation’s uniform.
Dorian, this is the Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces we’re talking about. This man has the power to send our troops into harm’s way. He is supposed to offer comfort to those parents whose sons and daughters don’t make it home.
He does not come close to deserving this office — because Donald Trump doesn’t understand a damn thing about the sacrifices our troops make.
That’s why when former White House chief of staff John Kelly brought President Trump to the cemetery where his son Robert, a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, is buried, Trump asked “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?”
Of course, he thinks about war selfishly. As a transactional cost — instead of in human lives and American blood spilled — because that’s how he’s viewed his whole life. He doesn’t understand other people’s courage because he’s never had any of his own.
And while Donald Trump might think “nobody wants to see” amputees like me, I can guarantee he WILL see me every single day, speaking out on behalf of our troops, Veterans and their families who deserve so much better from their Commander-in-Chief. I will make sure our servicemembers always have someone looking out for them in Washington — since our Commander-in-Chief clearly won’t.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer who has had the honor, the privilege, and the reward of serving his adopted country for 20 years proudly in both the enlisted and commissioned ranks, under six presidents – Republican and Democratic. Not once did he have the feeling that his commander in chief did not have his back, did not value his service, did not appreciate the minor sacrifices his family and he endured. In particular, never once the thought even occurred that, one day, a President of the United States would denigrate the troops and their service… would call those who did not return from battle “losers” and “suckers.”