McGrath campaign: McConnell Ad Disparages Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran on 9/11

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sen. Mitch McConnell’s campaign ad released today uses the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States to question the patriotism and judgement of retired Marine Lt. Col. Amy McGrath, who fought in combat protecting the American people from that very same terrorist organization.

“This is a new low, even for Mitch McConnell,” said the McGrath campaign. “It is despicable that on the anniversary of 9/11, he would politicize this American tragedy to disparage a veteran who risked her life to defend him, and all of her fellow Americans, from the terrorists who attacked us that day. It shows a stunning lack of patriotism.” 

McGrath remembers exactly where she was on Sept. 11, 2001. She sat strapped into a fully loaded two-seat F/A-18 fighter jet at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, engines running, ready to launch at a moment’s notice.

Two planes had already crashed into the World Trade Center, and another had crashed into the Pentagon. She was waiting on radio call orders to see whether she would have to take off and intercept any passenger airliner that wasn’t responding to air traffic control’s commands and could have been attacking the United States. She was 26 years old.

“In that cockpit on 9/11, I hoped and prayed that the leadership of my country knew what was best,” McGrath said. “I would do my part to defend us should I be called.”

McConnell, who avoided military service himself, has a long history of disrespecting our troops. When it became clear that Russia had placed bounties on troops in Afghanistan, he was all but silent about the danger they were in and the executive branch’s handling of the situation. He helped send our forces overseas almost 20 years ago, and when their lives were being directly threatened by an enemy, he turned his back on them.

When reports emerged that our commander-in-chief called our troops who were wounded or died in battle “suckers and losers,” McConnell was too afraid of political consequences to speak up for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

During his 36 years in Washington, McConnell has voted to allow health care fees to triple for more than 3 million veterans and has voted against at least $500 million per year in additional funding for veterans’ mental health care, to be offset by rolling back tax cuts for millionaires.

He blocked “the most comprehensive veterans legislation,” introduced in decades to expand health care, education and job training benefits for veterans and their families. He introduced legislation that would have discontinued tax credits critical to keeping many veterans’ families above the poverty line. And he voted at least four times against pay raises for our troops, while voting at least six times to increase his own pay.