As the Obama administration deals with the political fallout from a series of scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), including secret hospital waiting lists that led to preventable veteran deaths, Democrats in Washington and around the country are attacking military veteran candidates for office. The recent attacks have included calling an Iraq War veteran a “coward” and claiming that military service is not a “real job.” Here are four veterans who have been attacked despite their service to the country:
1. New York first district congressional candidate Lee Zeldin
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) called Iraq War veteran Zeldin a “coward” and DCCC northeast regional press secretary Mark Brumer tweeted an image of Zeldin’s face photoshopped onto The Wizard of Oz’s Cowardly Lion. The DCCC even ironically remarked that it was sending Zeldin a “badge of courage.” The Democratic operation was referring to Republican Zeldin’s alleged lack of initiative on either supporting or opposing the Paul Ryan budget. When The Daily Caller asked Brumer about the “coward” attack, Brumer doubled down, saying, “Why won’t Zeldin admit where he stands on the Ryan budget.” State senator and American Legion member Zeldin is challenging former Securities and Exchange Commission prosecutor George Demos in a June Republican primary before he can take on incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop.
2. Arkansas Senate candidate Tom Cotton
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor said that his Republican challenger Cotton has a “sense of entitlement” from his military service that makes him think he should be “let” into the U.S. Senate.
“There’s a lot of people in the Senate that didn’t serve in the military,” Pryor said in an interview with NBC News. “Obviously in the Senate we have all types of different people, all kinds of different folks that have come from all types of different backgrounds-and I think that’s part of that sense of entitlement that he gives off is that, almost like, I served my country, let me into the Senate. But that’s not how it works in Arkansas.”
3. Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown
Brown, a Democrat who served in Iraq and who still serves as a Colonel in the United States Army Reserve, took a slap in the face from his Democratic primary opponent, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler.
“I’m running against somebody who has never managed anybody, never run anything, his ads are about how he’s a lawyer in Iraq, and that’s all fine and good but this is a real job,” Gansler said in a speech. Veteran groups were understandably outraged.
4. Republican Nevada Rep. Joe Heck
Democratic Nevada congressional candidate Erin Bilbray accused her opponent Heck, an Iraq War veteran and currently serving Army Reservist, of engaging in “un-American” activity by sending out a fundraising email accusing Bilbray of supporting candidates that would be a “rubber stamp” for President Obama. Bilbray is the daughter of former Nevada Rep. James Bilbray, and previously served in various capacities with various nonprofits.
“Yes, as a woman, I, you know what, I don’t think you come out of the box and attack your opponent this far out,” Bilbray said on the Nevada television program Ralston Reports. “You know, I am a woman. I’m a woman. There’s no getting around it. And I think he was wrong and I think it discourages people from participating in the political process, and that is wrong. And that is un-American.”