Rep. Joe Walsh questions whether Democratic opponent is a ‘true hero’

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) is attacking his Democratic opponent for talking about her military service on the campaign trail.

In a town hall video posted Tuesday by ThinkProgress, Walsh questioned whether Democratic House candidate Tammy Duckworth is a “true hero” because she is constantly talking about her experiences serving in Iraq. 

“Now I’m running against a woman who — I mean my God, that’s all she talks about,” Walsh said. “Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about. That’s why we are so indebted and in awe of what they have done.”

Duckworth was one of the first women to fly combat missions in Iraq and lost both of her legs when her helicopter was hit by an RPG in 2004. She was awarded a Purple Heart.

Walsh compared Duckworth unfavorably to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the 2008 GOP presidential candidate, whom he said did not want to talk about his military record on the trail.

ADVERTISEMENT
The Duckworth campaign responded with a statement that Walsh’s comments “insult those who sacrificed to make this country free.”

“Tammy is proud of her over 20 years of service with the Army and her family’s legacy of fighting for this country,” Duckworth’s campaign manager said in a statement. “We can’t recognize our servicemen and women enough and ask that we keep them in our thoughts during this holiday week.”

Duckworth, who was defeated in a 2006 congressional run, is heavily favored in the race against Walsh, a freshman Republican, in the newly re-drawn Democratic-leaning district.

Walsh responded to the video Tuesday in a statement in which he did not back down from his initial charge. He said that “of course Tammy Duckworth is a hero” and that he has called her a hero “hundreds of times” in the past few months.

“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,” he said.

“Her service demands our thanks and our respect but not our vote ... 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,” he said.