Arizona Veterans’ Response to Trump’s ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ Comments

Ted Olsen, of Phoenix, looks to place an American flag at a makeshift memorial in honor of the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain at McCain's office Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, in Phoenix. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, died at the age of 81, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, after battling brain cancer. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

By Camaron Stevenson

September 11, 2020

State lawmaker and veteran Rep. Walt Blackman has spent several hours discussing policy online but hasn’t addressed Trump’s remarks.

Veterans and military families throughout Arizona are divided about reports that President Donald Trump made disparaging comments toward service members, with some service members bristling at the remarks and others questioning whether they happened.

Trump has previously made harsh comments about veterans like late Arizona Sen. John McCain, but denied the accuracy of the report in The Atlantic last week that he used insulting language like “losers” and “suckers” to describe Americans killed in battle during World War I. The report has since been verified by the Associated Press, the Washington Post, and Fox News.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix) a combat veteran who was deployed to Iraq with the Marines and a vocal critic of Trump, tweeted Thursday that Trump has “no honor” and “can never understand the sacrifice” of American service members.

“Even in a thousand lifetimes Trump couldn’t come close to matching the honor, courage, & commitment of the men I served with & the men we buried,” Gallego wrote.

State House Rep. Richard Andrade (D-Winslow) a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, also condemned Trump’s remarks. Posting a photo of the USS Arizona Memorial on Twitter, Andrade wrote, “this is why we honor our fallen service members. They have paid the ultimate sacrifice.” 

But other veteran lawmakers have either sidestepped the issue, or ignored it altogether. A spokesperson for Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) said in a statement that McSally “has no interest in moderating a fight between The Atlantic and the president over anonymously sourced accusations that have been debunked on the record. As a combat veteran herself, her views on the military and the heroes who sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms are well-documented.”

Rep. Walt Blackman (R-Snowflake), who served for over two decades in the U.S. Army, has spoken publicly several times in the week following Trump’s remarks but has failed to address his comments regarding military service. 

During over three hours of live videos posted in the days following the report by The Atlantic, Blackman has campaigned on removing health safety guidelines relating to COVID-19 and supporting pandemic liability protections for businesses, while repeatedly referencing his military service.

The Copper Courier reached out regarding Trump’s remarks, but Blackman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Continue Reading: These Army Veterans Plan to Vote for Joe Biden. Here’s Why.

Reporting by Kiara Quaranta and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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