In a Saturday speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D.-Ill., criticized President Donald Trump, calling him a “five-deferment draft dodger” and reprimanding him for “baiting” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “into a war.”
“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 [trying] to deflect blame?” Duckworth asked. “Or that his own Pentagon says that the short-term funding plans he seems intent on pushing is actually harmful to not just the military, but to our national security?”
Duckworth, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, said that she spent her “entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible. Sadly, this is something that 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.”
Addressing Trump, Duckworth contended, “If you cared about our military, you’d stop baiting Kim Jong Un into a war that could put 85,000 American troops, and millions of innocent civilians, in danger.”
In 2014, Duckworth lost both of her legs when a helicopter she was piloting in Iraq was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade.
Duckworth’s comments followed the shutdown of the federal government that began Friday at midnight after the Senate failed to pass a short-term funding bill.
Trump has blamed the Democrats for the impasse, tweeting Saturday that they decided to “play shutdown politics.”
Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border. They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead. #WeNeedMoreRepublicansIn18 in order to power through mess!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
The White House has also pinned the blame on Democrats, accusing them of putting “unlawful immigrants” ahead of the military and other funding needs.
“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders, we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform.”
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) January 21, 2018