On November 12, 2004, Captain Tammy Duckworth was flying a Black Hawk to her base in Iraq, roughly 50 miles north of Baghdad, when a rocket-propelled grenade hit the helicopter she was riding in, taking down Duckworth and three of her crew members. All survived, but the fiery crash left Duckworth a double-amputee and, later, the recipient of a Purple Heart.
Since then, Duckworth has gone on to an impressive, even extraordinary career, first serving in the House of Representatives after being elected from her Illinois district in 2012, and then moving up to the U.S. Senate four years later, winning the seat once held by Barack Obama. As Rebecca Johnson wrote in a Vogue profile two years ago, “There are so many firsts attached to Tammy Duckworth—she’s the Senate’s first member to give birth while in office, its first member born in Thailand (to an American father and a Thai mother of Chinese descent), and, of course, its first female amputee.” More recently, Duckworth has made the shortlist of potential running mates for Joe Biden.
So why is Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host, calling her “deeply silly”and “a coward”?
Carlson’s bizarre rants began on Monday, after Duckworth was asked on a Sunday morning cable news show whether the country should rethink the monuments erected in honor of George Washington, given his history as a slaveowner. Duckworth sidestepped a direct answer, saying instead that there should be a”national dialogue” on the somewhat complicated legacy of our founding fathers.
On his show the next night, Carlson, who has never served in the military, went on the attack again. “You’re not supposed to criticize Tammy Duckworth in any way because she once served in the military,” Carlson said during his opening monologue. “Most people just ignore her. But when Duckworth does speak in public, you’re reminded what a deeply silly and unimpressive person she is.” He then added, ““It’s long been considered out of bounds to question a person’s patriotism. It’s a very strong charge, and we try not ever to make it. But in the face of all of this, the conclusion can’t be avoided. These people actually hate America. There’s no longer a question about that.”
Duckworth responded on Twitter, saying Does @TuckerCarlson want to walk a mile in my legs and then tell me whether or not I love America?”