Watch Senator Totally Humiliate Five Time ‘Draft Dodger’ Trump in Epic Senate Floor Speech
Early Saturday morning, Americans woke to the first government shutdown since 2013. President Trump was already awake and tweeting. Trump was following a time-honored tradition in political warfare. Joe Pounder, President of America Rising LLC and Research Director of the Republican National Committee, described the strategy this way:
Define your opponent early in voters’ minds; do not let your opponent get his or her message out; dominate the daily news cycle with research-driven rapid response attacks; and set the record straight in defense of your own boss.
President Trump followed that advice, and sought to falsely pin the shutdown on Democrats by starting his day with this tweet:
Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
The most critical task in defining a political opponent during a dispute is the reinforcing of things people already tend to believe. Republicans have long accused Democrats of being weak on defense, and of seeking to short military members (and veterans) on pay increases and benefits. Not true, of course, but why let rhetoric get in the way of the truth? And for a long time, Democrats lacked an effective counter-punch. Not now.
The 2018 candidate slates on many ballots will be packed with outspoken Democrats who served in the military. Meanwhile, the Republican party is headed by a President who likens his high school years to military service. Trump, of course, never actually served in the military, receiving five deferments. Acting as consigliere to “The Don” is Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell, as was reported in 2013, has his own dubious (possibly dodging) history of avoiding active service. Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan avoided military service as well, which made the 2012 Republican ticket the first since 1932 devoid of nominees who served in the military.
Democrats will have to wait until November to defeat whoever is the next “Roy Moore” style candidate endorsed by President Trump. The battle for truth and public opinion, though, has already begun in earnest. Illinois Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs in combat during her military service, set the record straight. And wow, did she ever put President Trump in his place. Duckworth took to the Senate floor on Saturday and unleashed one salvo after another at Trump:
I spent my 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 the current occupant of the Oval Office does not seem to care to do.
I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five deferment draft dodger.
And I have a message for Cadet Bone Spurs: 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.
The video of Duckworth’s epic take-down is a must-see.
As for the option of another continuing resolution that defers action on those protected by DACA, Senator Duckworth took to Twitter to teach the Commander in Chief a lesson in leadership:
…and it leaves hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in a state of uncertainty. Enough is enough. I didn’t spend 23 years in the military going through multiple deployments just to weaken our national security, hurt our troops and kick the can down the road again.
— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) January 20, 2018
It seems the old Republican tricks will be far less effective against these new Democrats. No more will Democrats just shrug off Republican lies while losing the battle of public opinion. Democrats will punch back on the Senate floor. They will punch back on Twitter. And come November, they will punch back at the ballot boxes. The fight for the heart and soul of America has begun, and Senator Tammy Duckworth just threw the first punch.
Featured image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
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Dave Weaver is a freelance political journalist and author. Born in Pennsylvania, which was home most of his life, Dave has called Maryland, New York, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio, and Maine home over the last decade. All the wandering has allowed Dave to experience America (and Americans) from a variety of perspectives. For a political junkie, the insights gained from this exposure are invaluable.