Texas gov honors 'American Sniper' with 'Chris Kyle Day'
© Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Friday that he was declaring Monday "Chris Kyle Day" to honor the late Navy SEAL who served four tours in Iraq.

Kyle, who died at a shooting range on Feb. 2, 2013, was credited with the most kills in U.S. military history, and his best-selling autobiography "American Sniper" formed the basis of the recently released blockbuster film.

Abbott tweeted about his declaration, including a photo of Texas-native Kyle. The governor spoke to military veterans Friday on his legislative priorities for state lawmakers, including offering free mental health screenings and making it easier for veterans to get their businesses up and running, a local NBC affiliate reported.


The film "American Sniper," directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Bradley Cooper, follows Kyle during his time in Iraq, which earned the SEAL two Silver Star medals. The movie has earned more than $200 million in theaters and is nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture.

But it also uncovered old divisions over the Iraq War, stoked when documentary filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted earlier this month that snipers may shoot their targets in the back and "aren't heroes."

"Sometimes when I hear an idiotic statement like that from someone like Michael Moore, I don't want to dignify it with a response because it's so outrageous," lawmaker and Vietnam War veteran Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senator suspending campaign fundraising, donating paycheck amid coronavirus pandemic Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal MORE (R-Ariz.), the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean apologized on MSNBC after describing those who go see the film in theaters as "very angry.”

Former Minnesota governor and Navy SEAL Jesse Ventura, who won $1.8 million from a defamation lawsuit against Kyle's estate, has also criticized the late sniper.

In Texas, Abbott tweeted, "We honor our military heroes."