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‘I left parts of my body in Iraq’: Duckworth rejects GOP claim that Democrats were ‘in love with terrorists’

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) (Samuel Corum/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
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Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a Purple Heart recipient who lost both her legs in the Iraq War, rebuked a top Republican for saying Democrats were “in love with terrorists.”

“I’m not going to dignify that with a response. I left parts of my body in Iraq fighting terrorists,” Duckworth (Ill.) said during an appearance on CNN Thursday. “I don’t need to justify myself to anyone.”

Rep. Douglas A. Collins (Ga.), the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, made the baseless claim Wednesday during a Fox News interview that Democrats were more upset about the death of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani than they are about lost U.S. soldiers.

“They are in love with terrorists,” Collins said. “We see that they mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families who are the ones who suffered under Soleimani. That’s a problem.”

Duckworth, who told CNN she was “disgusted” by Collins comments, later reiterated her rebuke of Collins in a Twitter post that also swiped at President Trump.

“Donald Trump spent months attacking an ACTUAL Gold Star Family. @RepDougCollins should be ashamed of himself for perpetuating this offensive lie,” she tweeted.

In a second tweet, she added, “I love my country just as much as anyone on the other side of the aisle—it’s why I volunteered to serve in uniform, unlike Donald Trump.”

Collins’s comments, prompted by a planned House vote to limit the president’s ability to escalate tensions militarily in Iran, faced immediate backlash from people who pointed out that Trump had feuded with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Gold Star family, during the 2016 campaign and continues to question the heroism of late senator John McCain’s as a prisoner of war during Vietnam.

The comments are reminiscent of Republican attacks on Democrats in the lead-up to the Iraq War when they sought to challenge Democrats’ patriotism.

In 2002, then-senator Max Cleland of Georgia, a triple amputee who was wounded in the Vietnam War, was accused by his Republican opponent of “breaking his oath to protect and defend the Constitution” for a vote that would allow citizens of what an anti-Cleland ad called “terrorist nations” to be on the United Nations weapons inspection team in Iraq.