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Biden dismisses 'disgusting, sickening' criticism of Duckworth's patriotism

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden condemned attacks on Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthTrump looms over Senate's anti-Asian hate crimes battle Lawmakers demand justice for Adam Toledo: 'His hands were up. He was unarmed' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring MORE’s patriotism at a fundraiser Tuesday night as the Illinois Democrat comes under harsh criticism from Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonFox News's Bret Baier posts vaccination selfie Facebook prevents sharing of New York Post Black Lives Matter story Carlson hits back at Fauci: 'Never for a minute doubted' vaccines work MORE and President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse votes to condemn Chinese government over Hong Kong Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at age 93 White House readies for Chauvin verdict MORE's 2020 campaign.

The former vice president cited Duckworth's service in the Iraq War, where she lost both her legs in a 2004 attack on her helicopter. Duckworth, one of several women Biden is considering as a possible running mate, was later awarded the Purple Heart. 

Biden said he found the attacks “disgusting, sickening” and a “reflection of the depravity of what's going on in the White House right now.”

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“I can't tell you how I felt today when I heard the president of the United States, Donald Trump, questioning your patriotism,” he said at the fundraiser. 

“I know you can handle yourself. I said, I'm glad I wasn't standing next to him. You said you can handle yourself. You already have. You’ve done that,” Biden added, responding to a written statement from the Trump campaign accusing Duckworth of trying to direct attention away from other issues by citing her military experience.

Duckworth, whose ancestors have served in the American military going back to the Revolutionary War, has found herself the focus of an avalanche of criticism from conservatives after she said over the weekend there should be a “national dialogue” over statues of past slave-owning presidents such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Carlson launched two straight nights of tirades at the senator on his top-rated Fox News show, calling her a “coward,” “fraud” and a “callous hack,” remarks that were amplified later Tuesday by the Trump campaign.

"After saying she was open to tearing down statues of George Washington, Tammy Duckworth is now using her military service to deflect from her support for the left-wing campaign to villainize America's founding," the campaign said in a statement from Veterans For Trump Co-Chairman Scott O'Grady and Medal of Honor recipient and retired Army Gen. Patrick Brady. 

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"If she can't defend George Washington, our first Commander-in-Chief, those of us who still respect our Founding Fathers' immense sacrifice and think America is worth fighting for will hold her accountable for cowering to the far-left fascists in the Democrat Party," the statement added.

The Hill has reached out to the Trump campaign for further comment. 

Biden’s defense of Duckworth comes as his campaign vets the Illinois Democrat as part of its search for a vice presidential candidate, who Biden has pledged will be a woman.

“The Biden campaign have their own process that they're going through. And I'm sure Vice President BidenJoe BidenObama, Clinton reflect on Mondale's legacy Biden, Harris commend Mondale in paving the way for female VP Mondale in last message to staff: 'Joe in the White House certainly helps' MORE will pick the right person to be next to him as he digs this country out of the mess that Donald Trump has put us in,” Duckworth said on CNN this weekend. 

She has also struck back at Carlson, asking Tuesday if he’d want to “walk a mile in my legs and then tell me whether or not I love America?” after the "Tucker Carlson Tonight" host called her a “deeply silly and unimpressive person.”