The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has condemned the committee he leads for accusing an Iraq war veteran who is running for the U.S. House in New York as a Republican of being a “coward.”
The comments from New York Rep. Steve Israel — the chairman of the DCCC — come after the campaign arm of the House Democrats put a press release out last week asking whether Republican Lee Zeldin is being cowardly about Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget.
Zeldin served in Iraq in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.
“Rep. Israel was not shown the comments used to describe Iraq War veteran Lee Zeldin before they were sent out by DCCC staffers. He not only disagrees with these comments, but strongly condemns them,” Israel aide Samantha Slater told the publication Newsday on Friday.
After Israel’s comments, the DCCC took down the “coward” press release. Tweets from a DCCC spokesman of a graphic of Zeldin photoshopped onto the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz were also removed.
The link to the press release on the DCCC website now says, “PAGE NOT FOUND.” But before the page was removed, the DCCC said of the Republican not taking a position on the Ryan plan: “Zeldin is either woefully uninformed, willfully ignorant or a coward.”
After Republicans called for the DCCC to apologize for the remark, The Daily Caller reached out to the committee for a response. Initially, a spokesman doubled down when asked if calling Zeldin a “coward” was appropriate.
“Why won’t Zeldin admit where he stands on the Ryan Budget?” Marc Brumer of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee replied in an email on Thursday.