Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that Democrats were to blame for the shutdown of the federal government, claiming the party was “holding our military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration.”
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) was not having any of it.
Duckworth, an Army veteran who lost both her legs in the line of duty, minced no words on the Senate floor as she lambasted the president’s tweet on Saturday. Calling him a “five-deferment draft dodger,” Duckworth described Trump’s comments as the “latest example of him failing to show leadership to take responsibility for leading this nation.”
“Does he even know that there are service members who are in harm’s way right now, watching him, looking for their commander in chief to show leadership, rather than to try to deflect blame?” Duckworth asked. “Or that his own Pentagon says that ... the short-term funding plans he seems intent on pushing is (sic) actually harmful to not just the military, but to our national security?”
“I spent my entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible,” she continued. “Sadly, this is something the current occupant of the Oval Office does not seem to care to do, and I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger.”
The senator ― a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who served in the Iraq War ― went on to criticize Trump for his “baiting” of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“I have a message for Cadet Bone Spurs: if you cared about our military, you’d stop baiting [Kim] into a war that could put 85,000 American troops and millions of innocent civilians in danger,” Duckworth said. She added that if Trump “truly cared” about servicemen and women, he’d “stop hiding behind his Twitter account, stop blaming everyone else, and tell his party ... to do their job.”
Duckworth has referred to Trump as “Cadet Bone Spurs” in the past — a reference to the medical reason Trump cited to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War.
In her speech, the senator urged her colleagues to work together to get to a full budget, saying lawmakers should follow in the footsteps of “our troops.”
“We can compromise. We can do this together,” she said. “Our troops know how to work together. They stand shoulder to shoulder when they protect and defend this country. We surely, in these chambers, can do the same. Let’s stop blaming each other and let’s get to work.”