Chicago Sun-Times: Sen. Tammy Duckworth slams Trump as ‘Coward-in-Chief’ in Democratic convention speech

There are few as exquisitely qualified as Tammy Duckworth to call President Donald Trump a “Coward-in-Chief,” and that is what the Illinois senator, a wounded Iraq war vet, did Thursday on the final night of the Democratic National Convention.

A retired lieutenant colonel who served 23 years in the Illinois Army National Guard, Duckworth used her virtual convention pulpit to attack Trump as a puppet of tyrants who is using the military “to stroke his own ego.”

Duckworth saluted Joe Biden for his “common decency” in the run-up to his accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. She also paid tribute to the sacrifices of military families and Biden’s late son, Beau, who was a soldier like herself in the National Guard.

At this COVID-19 virtual convention, Duckworth delivered her speech live from a Washington rooftop overlooking the Capitol. She stood on her titanium legs, with her wheelchair in the shot.

Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general and officer in the Delaware National Guard died from a brain tumor in 2015 at the age of 46.

“When his son Beau deployed to Iraq, his burden was also shouldered by his family,” Duckworth said, stressing Biden’s empathy drawn from experience.

“Joe knows the fear military families live because he’s felt that dread of never knowing if your deployed loved one is safe.”

This was Duckworth’s fourth Democratic convention speech.

In 2004 she watched the convention from Iraq. Months later, she lost her legs and the use of an arm after her helicopter was shot down.

In 2008, after a failed bid for a suburban Chicago House seat, she made a national debut at Barack Obama’s convention, vouching that he would be good for the military. She set the stage for Beau’s convention speech about his father, delivered as he was poised to be deployed to Iraq .

At the 2012 convention, Duckworth pledged that Obama in a second term would never ignore troops, giving a boost to what would be her successful bid for a House seat.

And at Hillary Clinton’s 2016 convention, Duckworth, running for the Senate, talked with excitement about the prospect of the nation’s first female president.

Clinton lost, Duckworth won.

On Thursday, Duckworth spoke at the peak of her political career — the result of landing on Biden’s short list to be his vice presidential pick.

She scorched Trump’s failures as a commander-in-chief.

A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, she has been condemning Trump for not checking out reports that the Russians were offering bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Biden is “the kind of leader our service members deserve: one who understands the risks they face and who would actually protect them by doing his job as Commander-in-Chief.

“Instead they have a Coward-in-Chief who won’t stand up to Vladimir Putin, read his daily intelligence briefings or even publicly admonish adversaries for reportedly putting bounties on our troops’ heads,” she said.

As president, Biden “would never let tyrants manipulate him like a puppet. He would never pervert our military to stroke his own ego. He would never turn his back on our troops or threaten them against Americans peacefully exercising their Constitutional rights. . . . Unlike Trump, Joe Biden has common decency,” Duckworth said.

This bounty question has been raised for weeks. Trump’s stunning lack of curiosity about the safety of U.S. troops was underscored Thursday when he was asked about the bounties.

Trump rambled in reply, “If we found out, that would be true; if we found, that would be a very — it would be a fact, what you just said. We would hit them so hard your head would spin.”

Said Duckworth: Trump “doesn’t deserve to call himself Commander-in-Chief for another four minutes — let alone another four years.”

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