War vet Sen. Duckworth on Trump draft deferments: ‘I'm sorry, but it's baloney’

Rebecca Corey
·Writer, Reporter and Producer

“Through Her Eyes” is a weekly show hosted by human rights activist Zainab Salbi that explores contemporary news issues from a female perspective. You can watch a full episode of “Through Her Eyes” every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku, or at the bottom of this article.

Iraq War veteran Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., didn’t mince words about President Trump’s redirection of Pentagon resources to a U.S.-Mexico border wall after Congress declined to fund it.

“If anything, he's cut funding for our military readiness. He's stealing from the military,” Sen. Duckworth told the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes.”

“He's sending troops to the border to sit around in the desert,” she added. “Thousands of miles from where these migrants are, instead of going to training. He's also now been supportive of deporting veterans who serve who are green card holders.”

She also took Trump to task for his recent comments to British broadcaster Piers Morgan about military service.

“It would've been an honor to serve,” President Trump told Morgan when asked about his lack of military service. “But I think I make up for it right now ... because we’re rebuilding our military at a level that it’s never seen before.”

Sen. Duckworth was not impressed. As a lieutenant colonel, she lost both of her legs after the helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down over Iraq in 2004.

Trump received a total of five draft deferments from military service during the Vietnam War: four for education, and a fifth for bone spurs in his heels. Sen. Duckworth has mocked him as “Cadet Bone Spurs” on multiple occasions.

“I'm sorry, but it's baloney,” she said. “He dodged the draft five times using his personal privilege to get out of serving. He came up with a bogus diagnosis of a bone spur, which he can't even tell you what foot it was in. If it was that bad, you would remember, right?”

“Don't attack members of the military. Don't wrap yourself in the flag as if you're some great patriot, yet when your nation called and asked you to respond, you didn't,” she continued.

Sen. Duckworth was also highly critical of Trump when it came to escalating tensions with Iran, which spiked recently after the White House blamed Tehran for an attack against two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

“His administration is setting us up for a war with Iran,” she said. “He likes the idea of war. He likes to thump his chest — as long as it's someone else's children that are serving and not his own.”

She singled out national security adviser John Bolton.

“It's never been a doubt that Mr. Bolton wants a war with Iran,” Duckworth said. “He's been a warmonger for a very long time. And apparently he has Mr. Trump's ear, and he's making those decisions for the president.”

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2005, file photo, Army Major Tammy Duckworth rolls herself up during physical therapy at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Duckworth lost both legs when the helicopter she was in was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade during a mission near Baghdad on Nov. 12, 2004. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Chow)
FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2005, file photo, Army Major Tammy Duckworth rolls herself up during physical therapy at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. Duckworth lost both legs when the helicopter she was in was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade during a mission near Baghdad on Nov. 12, 2004. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Chow)

In April, Sen. Duckworth returned to Iraq for the first time since she was injured there, and she says the United States’ work there isn’t over.

“The Iraqi people need help that they were not getting when Saddam Hussein was in power,” she said. “And I think … we need to remain in the region and work with our intelligence allies to provide the support so that the Iraqi government can move forward beyond this war and immediate post-war footing. What Iraq needs is economic development. And they need nation building. And in order to get there, they need the allies to stand beside them.”

Listen to the full episode of the “Through Her Eyes” podcast, and listen to past interviews with Queen Latifah, Aly Raisman and more from Season 1.