‘THESE TITANIUM LEGS DON’T BUCKLE’
Illinois senator and VP contender blasts Trump, Fox News host after they question her patriotism
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a possible VP contender, takes aim at Fox News host Tucker Carlson, President Trump after attacks on her patriotism
‘These titanium legs don’t buckle.” That’s the message Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., whose legs were blown off during combat in Iraq, sent Thursday to Tucker Carlson and the man taking cues from the Fox News host, President Donald Trump.
In a New York Times op-ed posted Thursday, Duckworth said Trump and Carlson “are questioning my patriotism” and using “racist insults” because “they’re desperate for America’s attention to be on anything other than Donald Trump’s failure to lead our nation” as he seeks a second term.
On his Monday and Tuesday shows, Carlson, in a series of childish taunts, called Duckworth a “moron,” “silly,” “unimpressive,” a “coward” and a “callous hack” who did not care about veterans who nonetheless wants to lead a “country you despise.”
He wrapped up on a barely coded racial note, showing a picture of Duckworth, who is Asian American, and a Black member of Congress while talking about the need to “preserve our nation and our heritage and our culture.”
Carlson got riled up after Duckworth, on the short list to be Joe Biden’s vice president pick, said there should be a “national dialogue” over taking down George Washington statues.
Carlson twisted that into two nights of attacks, which Duckworth responded to Thursday in the op-ed, and I’ll get to more about that in a moment.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates resident, also pushed ahead on several fronts on one of her top priorities, U.S. military and veterans issues, a substantial portfolio she has developed since first being elected to the House in 2012 and the Senate in 2016.
Duckworth, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Thursday was pushing Defense Secretary Mark Esper to determine one way or the other if the Russians were paying a bounty to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Gold Star family members, she told him, need to know. Duckworth also was asking the Army to investigate a possible bungled response to reports over the disappearance of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, who eventually was found murdered.
On Wednesday, Duckworth vowed to continue to block 1,124 senior Armed Forces promotions until Esper comes clean about if key Trump impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — who retired from the military Wednesday — was denied a promotion by a vindictive Trump White House.
Duckworth, a retired lieutenant colonel who served 23 years in the Illinois Army National Guard, lost her legs and shattered her right arm when her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq in 2004.
In her New York Times op-ed, she notes — since the Carlson attack is pegged to George Washington — that she is the descendant of soldiers who fought in Washington’s Continental Army.
Duckworth was born in Thailand — her father was a U.S. citizen working there; her mother is Thai, with family roots in China. Duckworth speaks Thai and Indonesian.
She said in the op-ed, “Setting aside the fact that the right wing’s right to lie about me is one of the rights I fought to defend, let me be clear: I don’t want George Washington’s statue to be pulled down any more than I want the Purple Heart that he established to be ripped off my chest. I never said that I did.
“But while I would risk my own safety to protect a statue of his from harm, I’ll fight to my last breath to defend every American’s freedom to have his or her own opinion about Washington’s flawed history. 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.”
“... They should know, though, that attacks from self-serving, insecure men who can’t tell the difference between true patriotism and hateful nationalism will never diminish my love for this country — or my willingness to sacrifice for it so they don’t have to. These titanium legs don’t buckle.”
“The hateful vision for America parroted by Mr. Trump and Mr. Carlson will not win. Their relentless efforts to drive wedges between us will not work forever. We are too resilient a nation, too diverse a people, to let them.”
‘‘ATTACKS FROM SELF-SERVING, INSECURE MEN WHO CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRUE PATRIOTISM AND HATEFUL NATIONALISM WILL NEVER DIMINISH MY LOVE FOR THIS COUNTRY — OR MY WILLINGNESS TO SACRIFICE FOR IT SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO. THESE TITANIUM LEGS DON’T BUCKLE.”
SEN. TAMMY DUCKWORTH, D-Ill., following attacks on her patriotism by Fox News host Tucker Carlson and President Donald Trump
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. AP FILES
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., in 2016 at the Democratic National Convention.