Tucson veterans slam U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters

A group of Tucson veterans hit back at Blake Masters’ inflammatory comments about the military this week, saying he was not a good representative for more than half a million veterans in the state.

“A man like Blake Masters, who has no respect for our service – he has nothing to represent us anywhere, let alone the United States Senate,” Air Force veteran Sylvia Gonzalez Andersh said during of a Thursday afternoon press conference hosted by the Arizona Democratic. To party.

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Andersh is a member of #WeAreCommonDefense, a group of progressive veterans, and was part of a group of five veterans who resigned from Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s Veterans Advisory Board in protest last year.

Thursday’s event was small, with just seven veterans and a few reporters in attendance.

During the event, Andersh highlighted the recently revealed emails Masters wrote about 9/11, and the Iraq war that followed as evidence of his lack of respect for the military. The emails were sent while Master was in college, and in them he defended the right to spread 9/11 conspiracy theories and challenged “the story we’re told.” told” about the tragic event.

“Thousands of Americans lost their lives on that horrible day. And many, too many of my fellow men and women paid the ultimate price in the conflicts that followed. With his words, Blake Masters dishonors their service and he dishonors their memory, Andersh said, his voice cracking.

The Republican candidate for the US Senate, however, did not limit his inflammatory remarks to university emails. Master has several times called for a massive dismissal of military leaders since he started campaigning last year. In November, Masters published a Twitter campaign video calling military leaders “incompetent” and “woke corporate bozos”.

Don Womack, a Navy and Vietnam War veteran, said he was in disbelief after hearing the comments. They are insults to the base, Womack said, and are particularly offensive given that Masters himself has never served.

“Ultimately, what Masters said is simply disgraceful. His comments are nothing less than a personal attack on me and all other veterans and military families who have sacrificed to serve our country,” he said. he declared.

For Sue Ritz, a retired National Guard master sergeant with 24 years of service under his belt, the contrast between the masters and the previous men who occupied the seat he is fighting for is stark. Masters is running against incumbent Senator Mark Kelly, who served combat duty during the Gulf War, to take up a position previously held by the late Senator John McCain, who served as a naval officer and prisoner of war for five years during Vietnam War. .

“To listen to a guy like Blake Masters insult our military as he runs against Mark Kelly, a Navy fighter pilot, for the seat once held by the great Senator John McCain – well that’s an insult to everyone. world,” she said.

Ritz admitted that criticism of the military is not unwelcome in a country that values ​​the First Amendment’s right to free speech, but reiterated that Masters, with his lack of service record and disrespectful comments , is not the one who does it. If he really wants to make changes, Ritz said, he should commit.

“He is still young enough to join us. If he’s got so many things he’s gonna do to change the army – he’s 35, there’s a recruiting station I can take him to now and he can join the Army National Guard today’ today,” she said.

The Masters Campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

About Jonathan J. Kramer

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