ANALYSIS – Even with the decline in respect for the U.S. military due to extreme “wokeness” and other issues, Americans still hold military service in high regard.
This is especially true when it comes to those running for office.
Having served is a powerful bona fide for both Republican and Democrat candidates.
It was certainly important to my campaigns for the U.S. Congress, and for Florida Statehouse.
When I ran as an anti-establishment GOP candidate, my motto was: ‘the Marine vs the Machine.’
It’s no surprise then that lying about your military service is also a powerful temptation, not just for average joes who never donned the uniform pretending to be “super ninja, special ops warriors,” but also for budding politicos aspiring for public office trying to burnish their creds.
Pretending to be in the military or lying about your service are all called Stolen Valor because you really are stealing the bravery, patriotism, and dedication of others who actually served in the roles they did.
It is also illegal to lie about military service or veteran status to claim government benefits.
But we still see it. Even in high-profile political campaigns where they should know they will be caught.
Let me point out two current examples of political candidates from both parties who are reportedly guilty of “stolen valor.”
The one who has been most in the news is J.R. Majewski, a robust, bearded veteran praised by former President Donald Trump at a rally before the GOP primary.
He is running for Congress in Ohio.
A damning Associated Press report in September found that he exaggerated his service, including claims he’d deployed to a combat zone in Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
He even said he endured hardships like not showering for 40 days.
In fact, military records show that the closest Majewski got to Afghanistan was Qatar, abutting Saudi Arabia, our ally where I once helped set up the Defense Attaché Office (DAO) at the U.S. embassy.
In Qatar, he loaded planes for six months.
While he did serve, he apparently exaggerated his combat service and misled the voters.
In the wake of these reports, House Republicans withdrew an Ohio ad buy of close to $1 million originally designed to support Majewski.
As the Daily Beast reports:
The move [removing the ad buy] suggests the GOP has given up hope on what might have otherwise been an easy pickup during the elections, all but ensuring that Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the Democratic incumbent, whose victory was previously threatened by redistricting, will win the seat in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District.
But now there are claims that a Democratic candidate for the statehouse in Washington is involved in an ongoing feud with his family about whether he too is lying about his military service.
Fox News reported:
The father of Clyde Shavers, Democratic candidate for Washington state’s 10th Legislative District, claims in a recently published letter that his son lied about the details of his service in the U.S. Navy, according to local outlet Herald Net.
Clyde Shavers has run on a platform emphasizing his service in the U.S. Navy, claiming to have been a nuclear submarine officer — a position that requires a great amount of training and three separate courses.
“Clyde was never a submarine officer, not even for a day,” Brett Shavers wrote.
Fox News continued, writing that the father, “a Marine veteran, went on to dismiss any notions that his son served proudly in the military, going so far as to say Clyde Shavers has a “disdain” for enlisted service members.”
Brett Shavers added, “Clyde has only disdain for the military. I have seen Clyde’s use of veteran status used heavily as a seal of endorsement of honor and integrity, even as he or his campaign continually use the phrase ‘son of a Marine’ for his credibility.”
Clyde Shavers has denied his father’s claims, saying that the letter is “inaccurate” and “all about politics.”
While it isn’t clear from the letter or reporting if the father is accusing his son of not serving, or simply not serving in the capacity of nuke sub officer as he claims.
But the father does say his son hates the military, and enlisted troops, and is only using his alleged service to buttress his campaign.
Perhaps the news media can look further into these allegations of ‘stolen valor’ about a Democrat just like they did with GOP candidate Majewski.
It shouldn’t be too hard to confirm or deny.
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