TAMMY TEARS INTO TRUMP

Calls pres­i­dent ‘Cow­ard-in-Chief,’ says Bi­den won’t use mil­i­tary force ‘to stroke his own ego’

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - LYNN SWEET D.C. DECODER lsweet@sun­times.com | @lynnsweet

There are few as exquisitel­y qual­i­fied as Tammy Duck­worth to call Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump a “Cow­ard-inChief,” and that is what the Illi­nois sen­a­tor, a wounded Iraq war vet, did Thurs­day on the fi­nal night of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion.

A re­tired lieu­tenant colonel who served 23 years in the Illi­nois Army Na­tional Guard, Duck­worth used her vir­tual con­ven­tion pul­pit to at­tack Trump as a pup­pet of tyrants who is us­ing the mil­i­tary “to stroke his own ego.”

Duck­worth saluted Joe Bi­den for his “com­mon de­cency” in the run-up to his ac­cept­ing the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion. She also paid trib­ute to the sac­ri­fices of mil­i­tary fam­i­lies and Bi­den’s late son, Beau, who was a sol­dier like her­self in the Na­tional Guard.

At this COVID-19 vir­tual con­ven­tion, Duck­worth de­liv­ered her speech live from a Wash­ing­ton rooftop over­look­ing the Capi­tol. She stood on her ti­ta­nium legs, with her wheel­chair in the shot.

Beau Bi­den, a for­mer Delaware at­tor­ney gen­eral and of­fi­cer in the Delaware Na­tional Guard died from a brain tu­mor in 2015 at the age of 46.

“When his son Beau de­ployed to Iraq, his bur­den was also shoul­dered by his fam­ily,” Duck­worth said, stress­ing Bi­den’s em­pa­thy drawn from ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Joe knows the fear mil­i­tary fam­i­lies live be­cause he’s felt that dread of never know­ing if your de­ployed loved one is safe.”

This was Duck­worth’s fourth Demo­cratic con­ven­tion speech.

In 2004 she watched the con­ven­tion from Iraq. Months later, she lost her legs and the use of an arm af­ter her he­li­copter was shot down.

In 2008, af­ter a failed bid for a sub­ur­ban Chicago House seat, she made a na­tional de­but at Barack Obama’s con­ven­tion, vouch­ing that he would be good for the mil­i­tary. She set the stage for Beau’s con­ven­tion speech about his fa­ther, de­liv­ered as he was poised to be de­ployed to Iraq.

At the 2012 con­ven­tion, Duck­worth pledged that Obama in a sec­ond term would never ig­nore troops, giv­ing a boost to what would be her suc­cess­ful bid for a House seat.

And at Hil­lary Clin­ton’s 2016 con­ven­tion, Duck­worth, run­ning for the Se­nate, talked with ex­cite­ment about the prospect of the na­tion’s first fe­male pres­i­dent. Clin­ton lost, Duck­worth won. On Thurs­day, Duck­worth spoke at the peak of her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer — the re­sult of land­ing on Bi­den’s short list to be his vice pres­i­den­tial pick.

She scorched Trump’s fail­ures as a com­man­der-in-chief.

A mem­ber of the Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Committee, she has been con­demn­ing Trump for not check­ing out reports that the Rus­sians were of­fer­ing boun­ties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanista­n.

Bi­den is “the kind of leader our ser­vice mem­bers de­serve: one who un­der­stands the risks they face and who would ac­tu­ally pro­tect them by do­ing his job as Com­man­der-in-Chief.

“In­stead they have a Cow­ard-in-Chief who won’t stand up to Vladimir Putin, read his daily in­tel­li­gence brief­ings or even pub­licly ad­mon­ish ad­ver­saries for re­port­edly putting boun­ties on our troops’ heads,” she said.

As pres­i­dent, Bi­den “would never let tyrants ma­nip­u­late him like a pup­pet. He would never per­vert our mil­i­tary to stroke his own ego. He would never turn his back on our troops or threaten them against Amer­i­cans peace­fully ex­er­cis­ing their Con­sti­tu­tional rights . . . . Un­like Trump, Joe Bi­den has com­mon de­cency,” Duck­worth said.

This bounty ques­tion has been raised for weeks. Trump’s stun­ning lack of cu­rios­ity about the safety of U.S. troops was un­der­scored Thurs­day when he was asked about the boun­ties.

Trump ram­bled in re­ply, “If we found out, that would be true; if we found, that would be a very — it would be a fact, what you just said. We would hit them so hard your head would spin.”

Said Duck­worth: Trump “doesn’t de­serve to call him­self Com­man­der-in-Chief for an­other four min­utes — let alone an­other four years.”

‘‘THEY HAVE A COW­ARD-IN-CHIEF WHO WON’T STAND UP TO VLADIMIR PUTIN, READ HIS DAILY IN­TEL­LI­GENCE BRIEF­INGS OR EVEN PUB­LICLY AD­MON­ISH AD­VER­SARIES FOR RE­PORT­EDLY PUTTING BOUN­TIES ON OUR TROOPS’ HEADS.’’ SEN. TAMMY DUCK­WORTH, D-Ill., on Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

AFP PHOTO/DEMO­CRATIC NA­TIONAL CON­VEN­TION

Illi­nois Sen. Tammy Duck­worth speaks from Wash­ing­ton, D.C., on the fi­nal night of the vir­tual Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion.

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