Senator makes racist remark to double amputee Iraq war veteran in attempt to cut down family’s military service

An Illinois Senator is being accused of making an offensive remark about his political challenger, Tammy Duckworth.

During a debate, Sen. Mark Kirk attempted to cut down Duckworth’s familiy’s impressive military history that dates back to the Revolutionary War.

Duckworth, an Army captain at the time, lost both of her legs in Iraq when the black hawk helicopter she was piloting was shot down.

Her father, Captain Franklin Duckworth, is a veteran of World War Two and the Korean and Vietnam wars.  Jonathan Duckworth, and ancestor of the family, from Burke, North Carolina, is on the rolls of those who received Federal pensions for military service in the Revolutionary War.

Making him one of the three percent of Americans who actually fought against Great Britain.

What was said during the debate:

  • Tammy Duckworth: “My family has served this nation in uniform, going back to the Revolution. I’m a daughter of the American Revolution. I’ve bled for this nation. But I still want to be there in the Senate when the drums of war sound. Because people are quick to sound the drums of war, and I wasn’t to be there to say this is what it costs, this is what you’re asking us to do…Families like mine are the ones that bleed first.”
  • Sen. Mark Kirk: “I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington”

Kirk was referring to Duckworth’s mother, an immigrant, who gave birth to Duckworth in Thailand in an alleged attempt to detract from her families long record of military service.


Duckworth tweeted a photograph of herself with her parents, stating that her father's family has served in uniform since the Revolution

Duckworth, 48, became the first member of Congress born in Thailand when she was elected in 2013.  Before entering politics she served as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Update: Kirk,  who retired from the Navy Reserve in May 2013, after 23 years of service issued an apology via Twitter on Friday afternoon.

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