Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) did not mince words when commenting on President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military.
In a July 26 interview with Anderson Cooper, Duckworth said that Trump is “not fit to be commander in chief.” Duckworth told Cooper that Trump must have issued the ban solely to appeal to his base because, “it’s certainly not about military readiness.”
“I don’t know why the president is doing this. If anything what he’s doing is disruptive to unit cohesion,” she said. “I will be fighting on [transgender service people’s] behalf.”
Duckworth served as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army and the National Guard from 1992 to 2014. In the Iraq War, she lost both of her legs in combat and received a Purple Heart, one of the highest decorations a service person can receive. She was the first female double amputee from the Iraq War.
The war veteran reminded Cooper and viewers that gender identity didn’t matter when her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG).
“When I was bleeding to death in my helicopter after that RPG ripped through the cockpit of the aircraft and an American came to save my life, it didn’t matter to me if they were gay, if they were straight, if they were transgender,” Duckworth said. “It only mattered that they wore the uniform of the United States military. And I will always remember that.”
Duckworth added that anyone who wants to serve and protect the U.S. should be able to do just that.
“If you’re willing to serve this country in uniform and you’re willing to lay down your life to protect it,” she said. “You deserve to be able to do that.”