Sen. Tammy Duckworth honored Joe Biden's late son Beau, a fellow Iraq War veteran, while slamming President Donald Trump

By Sean Neumann
August 20, 2020 11:14 PM
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Sen. Tammy Duckworth
Sen. Tammy Duckworth
| Credit: DNC2020

During the final night of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, Sen. Tammy Duckworth dug into President Donald Trump's performance as commander-in-chief while speaking about the sacrifices of U.S. military families.

Duckworth, who lost her right leg near the hip and her left leg below the knee in 2004 while serving in Iraq when her helicopter was shot down, spoke in support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and honored his late son Beau's own military service in Iraq as a U.S. Army major.

"Joe knows the fear military families live because he's felt that dread of never knowing if your deployed loved one is safe," the Illinois lawmaker, 52, said from Washington D.C., in view of the U.S. Capitol building. "He had to muster that same strength every hour of every day Beau was overseas."

Upon returning from service, Beau later became the attorney general of Delaware. He died at age 46 in 2015 from brain cancer.

"Unlike Trump," said Duckworth, who introduced Biden's son in 2008 before he spoke at that year's Democratic National Convention. "Joe Biden has common decency. He has common sense."

Duckworth also challenged Trump's decision to use U.S. military police to clear peaceful protesters who gathered outside the White House in early June, after which he strolled across neighboring Lafayette Square and posed for a photo-op with a Bible outside a nearby church.

Biden "would never pervert our own military to stroke his own ego," the senator said, adding that the Democratic nominee "would never turn his back on our troops or threaten them against Americans peacefully exercising their Constitutional rights."

"Donald Trump doesn't deserve to call himself commander-in-chief for another four minutes, let alone another four years," she said. "Our troops deserve better. Our country deserves better."

Seth Perlman/AP
Sen. Tammy Duckworth
| Credit: Seth Perlman/AP

Biden accepted the Democratic Party's nomination on Tuesday and will join running mate Sen. Kamala Harris on the party's 2020 ticket this November against Trump, the Republican incumbent.

Duckworth saw her political profile rise this summer during the Biden campaign's months-long vice presidential decision, in which she was named a finalist. She also came under the national spotlight in part because of a number of clashes with conservatives over policies and rhetoric surrounding the military—including Trump.

Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty
Sen. Tammy Duckworth
| Credit: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty

Fox News host Tucker Carlson faced backlash in July after he questioned Duckworth's patriotism and called her a "moron" after the Iraq War veteran told CNN that she believes it's worth "having a national dialogue" about possibly removing a statue of former President George Washington. (Washington owned hundreds of slaves, according to the National Archives.)

Duckworth's initial remarks came amid nationwide protests over racial injustice this summer, which also included the removal and renaming of a number of monuments previously in honor of Confederate military men and American figures who owned slaves.

After Carlson's comments drew bipartisan criticism, Duckworth, a Purple Heart recipient, pointed out on social media that her family's military service dates back to the American Revolution.

Previously, Trump's campaign accused Duckworth of using "her military service to deflect from her support for the left-wing campaign to villainize America's founding," according to CNN.

In contrast, Biden called Carlson's comments "disgusting" and "sickening," according to the New York Times.