Tammy Duckworth and Backers Denounce G.O.P. Tweet as Insensitive

New York Times   ·   Link to Article

The tweet, sent by a branch of the Republican Party, had even jaded social-media users gasping.

Tammy Duckworth has a sad record of not standing up for our veterans,” read the post from the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Tuesday afternoon.

Ms. Duckworth, a United States Representative and Democrat of Illinois, is a predictable target of the group’s ire, since she is campaigning to defeat the incumbent senator, Mark Kirk, a Republican, in November in what is expected to be a close race.

Ms. Duckworth is also a veteran of the Iraq war who lost both of her legs when her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during a tour in 2004.

The tweet set off angry denunciations as being highly insensitive. Ms. Duckworth’s campaign called the tweet “tasteless and dishonest.”

“Tammy has made fighting for Veterans her life’s work, and will continue to do so in the Senate,” a campaign spokesman, Matt McGrath, said.

One group, VoteVets.org, used the tweet to urge those who feel such outrage to “make a $3 contribution directly to Tammy Duckworth’s campaign today.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee deleted the tweet shortly after it was sent — but not before screenshots began circulating online.

A spokeswoman said the tweet had been a mistake, but defended the assertion that Ms. Duckworth did not support veterans.

“It would be great if reporters would pay as much attention to a deleted tweet as they should to Tammy Duckworth being sued by V.A. whistle-blowers for ignoring claims of mistreatment and corruption,” the spokeswoman, Andrea Bozek, wrote in an email.

The committee has highlighted local news media reports on accusations leveled by a former subordinate that Ms. Duckworth used her time as the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, starting in 2006, to advance her career. Her tenure there is also the subject of a lawsuit by two department staff members, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

Ms. Duckworth has been mentioned several times as a potential candidate for the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs because of her work on the behalf of veterans, which began while she was a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (which was later renamed) in Bethesda, Md.

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