Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia sat around a virtual table with fellow veterans Tuesday, and the conversation turned to President Trump's views on the military.
There was some political and military firepower in this conversation, led by Garcia, who knows the cost of sacrifice as a "mortuary affairs specialist" for the Marines who was deployed to Iraq.
He was joined by:
- U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, a former Army Ranger who decorated for combat.
- State Rep. Tom Sullivan, an Air Force retiree who was a crew chief on a KC 135, an aerial refueling tanker
- David Ortiz, an Army veteran and candidate for state House
- Retired Air Force medic Gina Hill
- Marine Corps veteran Alex Ferencz
- Navy veteran Debbie Willhite
“I am shocked and appalled by the deep disregard and disrespect Trump has shown for our military,” Garcia, a Democrat from Pueblo said in a press release. “How can our service members entrust their lives to a man who befriends dictators, pardons war criminals, and demonstrates such blatant disdain for the sacrifices of our veterans? As commander in chief, this betrayal of our armed forces cuts particularly deep.”
You can watch the discussion by clicking here.
He spoke of how Trump made on-the-record comments that have disparaged military leaders and veterans, including the late Republican Sen. John McCain, who was held captive by the North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War – saying he liked people who “weren’t captured” and aren’t “losers.”
He continued, “Trump doesn’t deserve to sit in the Oval Office. Not only does he use service men and women as props for his own political gain, but he dishonors their sacrifice at every turn. As a Marine combat veteran, it makes me sick.”
Sullivan served in the military, just like his parents. He was born on an Air Force base and signed up as soon as he graduated high school.
"It was one of the easiest decisions I ever made to join the Air Force," he said. "That's kind of how I grew up."
He repeated the joke he thought everybody's dad came home wearing fatigues.
"Hearing, really, the beyond unfortunate words of our present commander in chief was very disheartening," said the Democratic lawmaker. "
Sullivan also is dismayed that partisan politics has overshadowed service. He told a story about a constituent diminishing his service because he was a Democrat who served under a Democratic president.
"So being there on Christmas morning making sure he and his family were able to have a pleasant time opening a Christmas meal while I sat out there in minus-20 degree temperature, it didn't matter to him, because I was a Democrat," Sullivan said.
Crow characterized his party's nominee, former vice president Joe Biden, as a military father.
"I believe he's incapable of understanding service and sacrifice," Crow said. "He just doesn't get it. He doesn't understand why someone would just step up and risk everything for a country and for men and women who are brothers and sisters, it's just not something he can comprehend."