Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois compared “coward-in-chief” Donald Trump to Democratic nominee Joe Biden as a potential commander in chief on the final night of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.
Duckworth, an Army veteran who lost both legs in combat, said that Biden knew the sacrifices the families of military members had to make because his late son Beau served in Iraq.
Neither Trump himself nor any of his adult children have served in the military.
“Joe knows the fear that military families live because he’s felt that dread of never knowing if your deployed loved one is safe,” Duckworth said. “He understands their bravery because he has had to muster that same strength every hour of every day Beau was overseas. That’s the kind of leader our service members deserve, one who understand the risks they face and would actually protect them by doing his job as commander in chief.”
Duckworth then turned her attention to Trump, noting his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his response to reports that Russia was paying bounties on American troops in Afghanistan.
“Instead, they have a coward in chief who won’t stand up to Vladimir Putin, read his daily intelligence briefings or even publicly admonish him for reportedly putting bounties on our troops’ heads,” Duckworth said.
In 2004, Duckworth was flying an Army Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq when the chopper came under attack. She was so seriously wounded in the ensuing crash that her fellow soldiers initially thought she was dead, but she survived and entered politics when she returned to the U.S.
Duckworth was first elected to the Senate in 2016, defeating Republican incumbent Mark Kirk. Previously, she had represented Illinois in the House and worked in the Department of Veterans Affairs during the Obama administration. She became the first sitting senator to give birth in 2018 and was the second Asian-American senator to be elected, after Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono.
According to a New York Times report on the vice presidential selection process, Duckworth impressed the search team, but there were concerns that her eligibility might be challenged because she was born in Thailand to a Thai mother. However, by the usual interpretation of the Constitution, Duckworth is a natural-born citizen because her father was American.
Last month, Duckworth was attacked by the Trump campaign and Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who called the Purple Heart recipient a “vandal” and “moron” for suggesting there could be a dialogue about potentially removing the statues of Founding Fathers who owned slaves. In a New York Times op-ed responding to the comments questioning her patriotism, Duckworth noted that her ancestors fought alongside Washington in the Revolutionary War.
“What some on the other side don’t seem to understand is that we can honor our founders while acknowledging their serious faults, including the undeniable fact that many of them enslaved Black Americans,” wrote Duckworth. “Because while we have never been a perfect union, we have always sought to be a more perfect union — and in order to do so, we cannot whitewash our missteps and mistakes. We must learn from them instead.”
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