A Marine Senate Hopeful Claimed Veterans Can't Be Democrats — Even Though He Was One


Marine Corps veteran and Wisconsin Senate hopeful Kevin Nicholson has been seen as a star candidate for the Wisconsin Republican Party this election cycle, but he recently came under fire for criticizing veterans who identify as Democrats, claiming that their service contradicts their political views.

In a radio interview on Wisconsin’s “Steve Scaffidi Show” on WTMJ, Nicholson stated that veterans voting for Democrats doesn’t make sense because the democratic party has “rejected the Constitution.”

“Those veterans that are out there in the Democratic Party, I question their cognitive thought process because the bottom line is, they’re signing up to defend the Constitution that their party is continually dragging through the mud,” he said.

Such an assertion is quite on-brand for the Senate candidate. Nicholson told USA Today that his conversion to becoming Republican stems from his experience in combat, becoming a husband and father, and his choice to become a Christian; his status as a decorated veteran and his outsized business acumen certainly attracted the attention of major GOP donors.

Let’s just say this makes Nicholson a bit of a walking contradiction given, well, his own strong history as a former Democrat.

Nicholson was formerly the president of the College Democrats of America while attending the University of Minnesota. At the 2000 convention for the Democratic National Committee, he gave a speech supporting a woman’s right to choose. So why the sudden change?

Perhaps it's not about party or principles with Nicholson. An in-depth report from Politico reveals several people who knew Nicholson during his college days that attest to his clear ambition to hold public office, which reportedly included having an “ARFS1,” or Air Force One vanity plate. Former friends and colleagues note Nicholson’s charismatic and powerful personality, but also question his reasons for running; one former roommate claimed he was emotionally abusive.

But even beyond Nicholson’s own political status, his statement is demonstrably false. Several veterans who are Democrats have successfully served in both the Congress and the military. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and the late Sen. Daniel Inouye both served honorably; the latter volunteered to fight in World War II and received the Medal of Honor. Most recently, Marine Corps veteran and Democrat Conor Lamb won a special election in Pennsylvania this year to be the U.S. Representative for the state’s 18th district.

Look, the factors of being a husband, father, and Christian who has seen combat are not mutually exclusive to being a Republican — or even, really, becoming more conservative. Veterans and Democrats can also be all of these things and still have a lasting and successful impact on this country. If anything, the more diverse perspectives we have, the stronger Congress will be — and this doesn’t mean that the majority should even be veterans anyway.  

Being able to draw on multiple experiences and backgrounds to include different religions or professions such as teachers, doctors, and scientists, will provide valuable skill sets and representation for our increasingly diverse population.

Maybe Nicholson is doing what he needs to advance his political career and distance himself from his often-polarizing background. But as a political unknown with a contradictory background, he’s not exactly building confidence into being what we need in Congress right now: House Speaker Paul Ryan recently endorsed his Republican primary opponent.

An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended the Guantanamo prison against critics who want it closed by saying U.S. taxpayers have a big financial stake in it and no other facility could replace it at a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday. (Reuters/Jason Reed JIR/CN)

Senior defense officials offered a wide range of excuses to reporters on Wednesday about why they may not comply with a subpoena from House Democrats for documents related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

On Oct. 7, lawmakers subpoenaed information about military aid to Ukraine. Eight days later, a Pentagon official told them to pound sand in part because many of the documents requested are communications with the White House that are protected by executive privilege.

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Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will announce legislation Wednesday aiming to "fix" a new Trump administration citizenship policy that affects some children of U.S. service members stationed abroad.

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The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.

Then the rhythmic clapping begins.

This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.

"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.

"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."

Well, I feel better. How about you?

On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.

"We do not know where they are," James Jeffrey told members of Congress of the 100+ escaped detainees. ISIS has about 18,000 "members" left in Iraq and Syria, according to recent Pentagon estimates.

A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."

"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.

President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.

"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."

The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."

Trump said that "small number of U.S. troops" would remain in Syria to protect oilfields.

Kade Kurita (U.S. Army photo(

Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.

"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.

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