Rep. Joe Walsh on “female, wounded veteran”: “Let’s move on. What else has she done?”

Whether he’s refusing to pay his child support so he can afford to fund his campaign and go on luxury vacations, lying about not being able to afford it, calling President Obama a liar, or yelling at constituents, Illinois congressman and Tea Party darling Joe Walsh knows how to keep it classy. So, I shouldn’t be surprised by his most recent disgusting comments about Tammy Duckworth, who is running against him  in Illinois’s 8th congressional district. Duckworth served as Assistant Operations Officer and a Black Hawk helicopter pilot in Iraq. After her helicopter was ambushed and hit by a grenade, she successfully landed the helicopter, but lost her legs and her right arm in the blast.

In an interview with Politico,  Walsh reflected on Duckworth’s achievements:

“I have so much respect for what she did in the fact that she sacrificed her body for this country,” said Walsh, simultaneously lowering his voice as he leaned forward before pausing for dramatic effect. “Ehhh. Now let’s move on.What else has she done? Female, wounded veteran … ehhh,” he continued. “She is nothing more than a handpicked Washington bureaucrat.  David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel just picked her up and dropped her into this district.”

Joe really knows how to pay his respects! What is more respectful than  trivializing a person’s gender, and traumatic injuries? Oh, I know: dismissing the person as worthless. But before we “eh, move on,” let’s review what else Duckworth has done.

  • After becoming a “wounded veteran,” Duckworth served as the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Before that, she was the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Duckworth declined her Army medical retirement and continues her service in the National Guard
  • and has written on the health risks of environmental radon and lung cancer.
  • Thanks to her advocacy for veterans and health care, Duckworth won the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award,
  • was named the 2008 Disabled Veteran of the Year by the Disabled American Veterans,
  • was selected by Candidate Obama to deliver the presidential campaign’s key address on Veterans’ rights at the Democratic National Convention,
  • received an American Veterans (AMVETS) Silver Helmet award
  • and The George Washington University’s Colin Powell Public Service Award.

Vote Vets has released a press release which states “New Low: Deadbeat Congressman Joe Walsh Insults Veterans’ Sacrifice.” Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of PAC Jon Soltz stated,

“Just when you think Congressman Joe Walsh couldn’t sink any lower, he insults the service and sacrifice of our Veterans, particularly one like Tammy who lost her limbs in the line of duty. Congressman Walsh owes Tammy Duckworth and all Veterans an apology for his outrageous disrespect for their service…. But it’s not just that.  If you think working for America’s veterans at the VA both in Washington and Illinois is nothing, if you think working to improve the economic lives of veterans is nothing, then Joe Walsh’s record is below nothing.  He represents the do-nothing, obstructionist, extreme Tea Party wing of the GOP, not the values that Tammy stood up for.”

And writer Carol Felsenthal was right on the money when she wrote of Walsh’s statements, “the last line, especially, with its image of the legless Duckworth being dropped from the air “into [the] district” struck me as beyond tasteless.”

Check out Joe yelling at his constituents here


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

Read more about Katie

Join the Conversation

  • Ivan

    Not only has this guy’s every economic policy idea been debunked, not only is he an alleged deadbeat dad, not only has he completed one of the swiftest severest retreats from national tv cameras in the history of sitting American politicians, (I don’t have a problem with the yelling thing — I respect that kind of communication with one’s constituents, actually.) now he adds to his already substantial notoriety by insulting Tammy Duckworth?

    What an amazingly thorough loser. Please resign, Joe.

  • Alison

    Ugh, this guy is SUCH an asshole. It’s like he’s trying to win an award or something. Gross. Duckworth has more integrity in her little finger than Walsh has in his whole damn body.

  • toongrrl

    Oh my goodness. I hope Officer Duckworth would beat him

  • Brüno

    Actually it would be a great thing if Veterans are not seen as heroes anymore. It sure would go a long way in keeping youths from a path where they get bad pay, a high probability of injury/death, low job security (there is only so many officers captains etc. the forces need per soldier) and a higher probability to be unemployed when their services are not longer required in the forces.

    If I had children whom I couldnt provide the means to get a decent education, Id rather seem them go to a “socialist” country where they can get that education (and maybe work experience afterwards) than join the military.

    • Robert

      I served a stint in the Marines and your view is off a little. It’s true that many veterans are unemployed but that has more to do with the people going into the military in the first place than it does with the military not providing benefits. I met former gang members that never broke their ties, people that only had a GED, people that saw it as an escape from their personal problems, and even people that barely spoke English. My first two years in I went from being a starving college student to having 20K in the bank due to being deployed. I own a car, go to school for free and making two incomes, have no debt, and will be buying a place in the next few years. There are veterans that don’t care to go to school even though tuition is free to any public school in the nation plus a housing allowance. By the time I finish using my GI bill I will have collected over 72K in cash and owe nothing in student loans. There are people I went to high school with who got a bachelors degree and are unemployed while owing 10’s of thousands in student loans. They will be in their 40’s by the time they finish paying all that off.

      I’ve been to socialist countries and their education is not highly viewed. Many university grads from other countries STILL have to go back to school here. A great example of this is Uppsala in Sweden, their version of Harvard. There are literally at least 100 US universities ranked higher.

    • Velicoraptor

      I heartily agree!

      I’m not from the US nor do I live in the US, but I’ve noticed that veterans are close to worshipped as heroes and role models to aspire to in said country. This is a very damaging view. They have survived a war, a catastrophe, a horrible event. That is not something to aspire to.