Duckworth Demands Answers on Russian Bounties for Killing American Troops

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WASHINGTON — Combat veteran and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) who served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years, spoke on the Senate floor June 29 on the reports that President Trump has known for months that Russia secretly offered bounties to militants for the killing of American troops, but has done nothing to protect those troops.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth

On June 28, Duckworth sent a letter to SASC Chairman James Inhofe (R-Okla.) to demand a Senate hearing on the reports.

Key quotes from Duckworth’s remarks:

“While [Trump] spent his weekend golfing, lying and making sure the buck stops anywhere but with him, our troops in hotspots around the world were forced to wonder whether they might be next… whether a bounty might be placed on their heads tomorrow, and whether the president would even care enough to respond if that were the case. Once again, Donald Trump has abdicated any semblance of real leadership.”

“I ran for Congress so that when the drums of war started beating, I’d be in a position to ensure that our elected officials fully consider the true costs of war — not just in dollars and cents, but in human lives. I never imagined I’d have to stand here to point out that the American president should be angry, even furious, when another nation puts a bounty on the heads of our troops.”

“Donald Trump has never understood what words like ‘sacrifice’ or ‘courage’ mean. So how dare he let his own personal cowardice — his inability or, even worse, his disinterest in standing up to Vladimir Putin — lead to a reality where those Americans actually brave enough to serve are put at greater risk? How dare he let his own personal insecurities endanger our national security? In the face of all he’s done and all he continues to refuse to do, how dare he still call himself our commander-in-chief?”

Duckworth’s name has come up in discussions of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate. Although much attention has focused on African American women, some observers say that Duckworth — an Asian American who lost both legs while serving as a helicopter pilot in the Iraq War and an advocate for her fellow veterans — would be a good choice.

Frank Bruni of The New York Times wrote, “She’s a paragon of the values that Donald Trump, for all his practice as a performer, can’t even pantomime. She’s best described by words that are musty relics in his venal and vainglorious circle: ‘sacrifice,’ ‘honor,’ ‘humility.’ More than any of the many extraordinary women on Biden’s list of potential vice-presidential nominees, she’s the anti-Trump, the antidote to the ugliness he revels in and the cynicism he stokes.”

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