Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Wednesday excoriated a witness during a House hearing over his claim to a lucrative military disability status stemming from a decades-old ankle injury he sustained at a military preparatory school.
Duckworth grew visibly upset with Braulio Castillo, the president and CEO of Strong Castle, Inc. A congressional investigation found that Castillo claimed service-disabled veteran status in 2012 over an ankle injury he suffered in 1984 at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School.
"I'm sorry that twisting your ankle in high school has now come back to hurt you in such a painful way, if also opportune for you to gain this status for your business as you were trying to compete for contracts," said Duckworth, an Iraq war Veteran who lost both her legs in 2004 after the helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down.
"Your foot hurt -- your left foot?" she asked the witness at one point.
"Yes ma'am," responded Castillo, who was one of several witnesses at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.
"Yeah, my feet hurt too. In fact, the balls of my feet burn continuously and I feel like there is a nail being hammered into my right heel right now," responded Duckworth.
Duckworth later contrasted Castillo's injury to a friend who suffered an injury in Vietnam that resulted in death from cancer. She also detailed injuries to her arm.
"I'm still in danger of possibly losing my arm. I can't feel it," Duckworth pointed out.
Duckworth slammed Castillo for saying there are "crosses" he bears due to his injury. She said that Castillo was "gaming the system."
"Shame on you, Mr. Castillo. Shame on you. You may not have broken any laws ... but you certainly broke the trust of this great nation. You broke the trust of veterans," Duckworth said.