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Two combat veterans confronted Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tx.) in the halls of Congress about his support for President Donald Trump in a video that quickly went viral.
In the video, two men, identified by Newsweek as U.S. Army veterans Jason Hurd and Purple Heart recipient Alan Pitts, plea with Crenshaw that Trump is a “criminal” who has committed “ten impeachable obstruction offenses,” and implore him to “do your duty.”
As they talk, Crenshaw says little and continues walking, eventually getting on a “Members Only” elevator in an attempt to get away from them.
“I know you’re here to make a video,” Crenshaw says as they continue badgering him.
“How are you gonna let him just cozy up to dictators? How are you just gonna let him lock kids in cages? Like, come on, dude. Are you kidding me? You need to get your courage back,” Hurd says.
Crenshaw, who was wounded in Afghanistan, fires back, “Courage? You’re gonna talk to me about courage?”
Hurd says that the case for impeaching Trump is “clearly laid out” in the Mueller Report, prompting Crenshaw to reply that he has read the report. “As veterans we should be smarter about how we talk about this,” Crenshaw says.
The video, which is reportedly from Thursday, had more than 600,000 views as of Friday morning.
The video was posted by Common Defense, an organization made up of military veterans and their families that train people to become grassroots organizers and hold elected officials accountable. It explicitly supports progressives, and claims that “right wing billionaires and politicians have exploited veterans like us as political props.”
“We empower veterans to stand up for our communities against the rising tide of hate and violence, serve on the front lines for social, economic, and environmental justice, champion a truly equitable and representative democracy, and preserve the core American values we swore to uphold and defend,” Common Defense’s website states.
Reactions to the video ranged from people claiming, as Crenshaw did during the encounter, that the men were more interested in courting clicks than engaging in dialogue, and disgust over both Crenshaw’s complicity with Trump’s crimes and his treatment of Hurd and Pitts.
Russian trolls are defending him right here in the comments! Did he buy them or were they a gift from Daddy?— Kim (@kim) September 20, 2019
Trying to frame Crenshaw as a coward is hilarious. Also, he handled this well. https://t.co/IGosZD5Qoo— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 20, 2019
It’s official. @DanCrenshawTX is a prick. These combat veterans tried to have a conversation w/ him, asking he stop being complicit w/ Trump’s corruption & lies.— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) September 20, 2019
Combat Veteran: You need to get your courage back...
Crenshaw: You’re going to talk to ME about courage?
“If I did half the things he has done, I would be in Leavenworth. I would be underneath Leavenworth, sir, like you would be too,” Hurd says to Crenshaw at the end of the video. “You can’t let this happen. You’re going to let a criminal hijack our democracy. This is your duty. I’m here doing my duty.”
“I’m going to keep walking,” Crenshaw replies.
Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.