Video targets Republicans in Illinois, Iowa, and Pennsylvania
The group objects to Cheney’s obstruction of President Donald Trump’s attempts to withdraw U.S. troops from involvement in nearly two-decade old wars in the Middle East, and her support of legislation implementing so-called “red flag” policies that would allow veterans to be denied their 2nd Amendment rights.
Sgt. Dan McKnight, a veteran of the U.S. Marine, U.S. Army, and Idaho Army National Guard, who served an 18-month deployment to Afghanistan, said the group this week will begin airing a 30-second video targeting three GOP Congressional candidates: former Congressman David Young in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, and Rep. Rodney Davis in Illinois’s 13th Congressional District. “There will be more,” McKnight said.
“David Young wants to go to Washington. Maybe this should be his first stop,” the group’s video says as it pans images of Arlington National Ceremony. “David Young took $4,000 from Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who’s attacked President Trump’s efforts to bring our troops home from endless wars. Polls show 75 percent of Americans support President Trump’s move to bring our troops home. Now. But David Young’s taking blood money from Liz Cheney, who keeps sacrificing other people’s children on the altar of endless war. Tell David Young to give Liz Cheney her money back. Support President Trump’s efforts to bring our troops home.”
In a letter Monday to President Trump, McKnight expressed support for Trump’s efforts to bring U.S. troops home and advised the president of the group’s effort to remove Cheney from House GOP leadership.
“There are forces in Congress that oppose your policies,” McKnight wrote Trump. “Led by Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, these globalist forces have far too often overstepped their legitimate role. Accordingly, we at BringOurTroopsHome.US have launched an effort to convince members of the House Republican Conference to remove her from her position of caucus leadership. We believe it is a disgrace to have such an active opponent of your popular policies in a position of leadership and rank.”
And in a letter Monday to every incumbent House Republican, McKnight told lawmakers that the veterans group has “launched a video urging citizens to pressure the Republican candidate in three Congressional districts across the country to return the ‘blood money’ their campaigns have received from Cheney and publicly declare that if elected, they will not vote for Cheney for any House leadership position in the next Congress.”
“Rep. Cheney has repeatedly attacked President Trump and his efforts to bring our troops home from needless and endless wars. …She opposes the President’s policy of requiring NATO allies to pay their fair share of the burden of their own defense. And she worked to prevent President Trump from removing and redeploying troops from Germany. …Liz ‘Chicken Hawk’ Cheney, especially in a leadership position, is a significant barrier to these goals. I urge you in the strongest possible terms to call on Cheney to resign her leadership position.”
McKnight also attacked Cheney’s support for “red flag” language in the National Defense Authorization Act that would “give government bureaucrats the power to forcibly take firearms away from veterans due to accusations from third parties.”
“By applying this ill-conceived concept to veterans,” McKnight wrote, “Cheney supports using veterans as guinea pigs, test subjects in a move to giving the government the power to violate our 2nd Amendment rights and eventually remove firearms from the homes of all Americans without just cause.”
McKnight in a letter earlier this month forewarned House Republicans of the veterans group’s plans.
“Be advised that BringOurTroopsHome.US will be informing citizens of your district if you refuse to renounce Rep. Cheney. We will use all available forms of communication to inform the public whether you side with Cheney’s policies of endless war and increasing abrogation of our Bill of Rights. Please renounce any support you may have received from Cheney or her many political entities. Return any funds you may have received, or publicly donate them to a veterans organization of your choice.”
McKnight said Cheney’s opposition to withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, and other foreign civil wars “put her at odds with the overwhelming majority of Americans, a huge majority of Republicans, and with President Trump.”
He cited multiple polls indicating support among Republicans and Americans at large for ending U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq:
* In April, Concerned Veterans for America released a poll which found that 73 percent of the 1,500 veterans and military families polled supported full and immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, where I served for eighteen months in 2005-06.
* In January, YouGov released a poll finding that roughly 70 percent of all Americans surveyed supported withdrawal of U.S. troops from both Afghanistan and Iraq.
* Last October, Rasmussen Reports found that 58 percent of likely U.S. voters and 69 percent of Republicans agreed with President Trump’s statement that “it’s time for us to get out of these ridiculous endless wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.”
* In June 2019, Pew Research Center found that 64 percent of veterans and 62 percent of Americans said the war in Iraq was not worth fighting, while 58 percent of veterans and 59 percent of Americans said the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting.
* In April 2019, Concerned Veterans for America found that 60 percent of veterans and military families supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan – meaning support for that position grew by 13 points from April 2019 to April 2020.
* In January 2019, a Politico poll found that 81 percent of Trump voters supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
* Over Veterans Day in November 2019, a poll by Stars and Stripes magazine found that 84 percent of military service personnel and veterans agreed that the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq have “been going on too long.”
* In March of this year, a Tarrance poll of Trump voters in the three swing states that gave him the presidency – Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – found that 86 percent supported the President’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, 62 percent supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and 58 percent supported withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.
McKnight said that poll appeared to validate a 2017 study by Boston University and the University of Minnesota, which concluded that Trump’s pledge as a candidate to end two-decade old wars in the Middle East and bring U.S. troops home was key to his winning those three states, where researchers found “a significant and meaningful relationship between a community’s rate of military sacrifice and its support for Trump.”
As the University of Minnesota reported:
“If just three states—Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan—had experienced moderately lower casualty rates, each might have switched from red to blue and sent Hillary Clinton to the White House,” say the authors.
After analyzing election data at both the state and county level, the study — Battlefield Casualties and Ballot Box Defeat: Did the Bush-Obama Wars Cost Clinton the White House? — finds that Trump made significant inroads in parts of the country that suffered disproportionately high casualty rates in Iraq and Afghanistan. These areas tend to be poorer, less educated and more rural parts of the country.
Among the many implications of these findings are what this means for Trump’s foreign policy.
“Trump’s electoral fate in 2020 may well rest on the administration’s approach to the human costs of war,” Shen said. “Politicians from both parties would do well to more directly recognize and address the needs of those communities whose young women and men are making the ultimate sacrifice for the country.”
“Our statistical model suggests that if three states key to Trump’s victory – Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin – had suffered even a modestly lower casualty rate, all three could have flipped from red to blue and sent Hillary Clinton to the White House,” the study’s authors concluded. “If Trump wants to win again in 2020, his electoral fate may well rest on the administration’s approach to the human costs of war.”
McKnight last month sent a similar letter to current Republican members of Congress, urging them to remove Cheney as a member of GOP House leadership.
“If you follow Chicken Hawk Cheney over the cliff of blocking President Trump’s effort to keep his campaign pledge,” McKnight wrote Republican House members, “and force American troops and taxpayers to continue endlessly bleeding American lives and treasure into the sands of other people’s civil wars in the Middle East, you may squander your party’s longstanding relationship with veterans and military personnel and surrender any chance you may have of regaining control of the House of Representatives or keeping the White House in 2020.”
“Please chuck the Chicken Hawk,” McKnight concluded, “and thank you for your consideration.”