Gov. Jan Brewer is the latest political figure to come under fire for making conflicting statements about military service. In this case Brewer appears to have misstated her father's military record.
The Arizona Guardian reports:
Gov. Jan Brewer said in a recent interview that her father died fighting Nazi Germany. In fact, the death of Wilford Drinkwine came 10 years after World War II had ended. During the war, Drinkwine worked as a civilian supervisor for a naval munitions depot in Hawthorne, Nev. He died of lung disease in 1955 in California.
Here's what Brewer initially told the Arizona Republic about her father's service record when reacting to the criticism she has received for enacting Arizona's new and controversial immigration law:
"The Nazi comments... they are awful," she said, her voice dropping. "Knowing that my father died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany, that I lost him when I was 11 because of that... and then to have them call me Hitler's daughter. It hurts. It's ugliness beyond anything I've ever experienced."
According to Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman, the Arizona governor "wasn't embellishing the story at all," telling the Guardian that Brewer's father ultimately passed away after inhaling toxic fumes while working at an ammunition factory during World War II. "You're reading something into this that isn't there," he said.
Brewer frequently begins speeches by describing her life experiences, focusing on challenges that faced her mother, a single parent, following her father's death.
In prepared texts of March, April and May speeches to Arizona audiences, Brewer said her father, Wilford Drinkwine, died in the 1950s as a result of "years of breathing poisonous fumes around harsh chemicals."
Drinkwine was a worker at a World War II munitions depot in Nevada, she said in the speeches.
State Democratic Party spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson said Brewer's father may have died as a result of his wartime work, but Brewer's description of the circumstances were misleading.
"It seems obvious that Jan Brewer stretched the truth to make herself a more sympathetic figure," Johnson said. "This isn't about her father. This is about the word choices that Jan Brewer made."