WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both legs in combat, criticized President Donald Trump’s comments that Americans “don’t fight to win” wars, saying the remarks show he isn’t fit to be commander in chief.
Trump made the comments to U.S. governors at the White House on Monday. He said his upcoming budget would propose a boost in defense spending to rebuild the military, which he said has been depleted.
“When I was young, in high school and college, everybody used to say ‘we haven’t lost a war,’ we never lost a war, you remember,” Trump said. “Some of you were right there with me, and you remember we never lost a war. America never lost. And now we never win a war. We never win. And we don’t fight to win. We don’t fight to win. So we either got to win, or don’t fight it at all.”
Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, rejected those comments.
“Not only are the president’s remarks not truthful, they are offensive to every man and woman who has ever worn this great nation’s uniform — including thousands currently deployed and in danger,” she said in a statement. “For someone who has never served and thinks he knows more than generals with real combat experience to say these things is disgusting.”
She added that if Trump thinks troops aren’t fighting to win, “he needs to tell the American people why he’s ordering them to remain in harm’s way.”
Duckworth was referring to a campaign speech that Trump made in November 2015 in which he detailed his plans for dealing with Islamic State militants.
“I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me,” Trump said then.
Talking to the governors Monday, Trump cited the Middle East as an example, saying the region is worse off after years of fighting and trillions of dollars spent.
“We have a hornet’s nest,” he said. “It’s a mess like you’ve never seen before. We’re nowhere. So we’re going to straighten it out.”