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Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) came under fire on Twitter on Tuesday after blasting 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for commenting, as Sanders often does, on veteran’s issues.
Crenshaw, himself a former Navy SEAL, took “personal” issue with the Vermont independent’s demand that a government which sends soldiers to war should provide veteran welfare support.
And that a government that struggles to take of veterans—as the U.S. does—shouldn’t go to war elsewhere.
The Texas congressman went on to imply Sanders’ policy position was just part of a cynical election ploy to “pander to different groups.”
Watching Bernie pander to different groups to get their vote has always disgusted me, but now it’s personal.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) September 17, 2019
I didn’t go to war so that you would take care of me, Bernie. I went because I wanted to serve and our country needed it. https://t.co/ADhxrvtIA9
Twitterati across the political left and right were confused by Crenshaw’s extraordinary tweet—a “veteran refusing to help veterans to own the libs” as one user put it.
Republican to vets: die in a ditch!— Gtmcauliffe (@gtmcauliffe) September 17, 2019
Lmao, this is one the most bad faith arguments ive ever seen.— H.J. Tuggins (@HJTuggins) September 17, 2019
Thank you for bravely saying this, sir. Few veterans ever come out in favor of hurting other veterans, but you did it for some inexplicable reason that I’m sure made sense to you— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) September 17, 2019
Dan Crenshaw comes out against taking care of veterans. that's a bold stance sir— Rob Rousseau (@robrousseau) September 17, 2019
A veteran not wanting to help veterans to own the libs pic.twitter.com/FvEhvldiy4— Jonathan Juarez (@Jon_Juarez_) September 17, 2019
What makes Crenshaw’s angle even stranger is that he’s attacking Sanders, who sits on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and has been an outspoken advocate for veteran welfare throughout his political career. During his current presidential bid, in debates and interviews, he has repeatedly underlined his commitment to veterans.
“As a nation,” Sanders’ campaign website reads, “we have a moral obligation to provide the best quality care to those who have put their lives on the line to defend us.”
If there’s one policy stance that enjoys widespread bipartisan support, it’s veteran affairs. Someone should tell Crenshaw that’s not pandering.
David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology.