As a Veteran who proudly served my country in Vietnam, issues of national security are my top priority this election season. I’ve been dismayed by Kelly Ayotte’s attempts to rewrite her actual Washington record on this topic, and wanted to take the opportunity to set the record straight.
Kelly Ayotte likes to claim that she has credibility on national security, but time after time she has failed to step up and take action to keep our nation safe.
During her time in Washington, Kelly Ayotte failed to even show up to nearly half of her hearings for the Homeland Security hearings. That includes critical hearings on border security and even drug trafficking. But while she’s skipping these Senate hearings, she makes plenty of time for fundraisers for her reelection campaign. I don’t know how she can claim to be working to keep America safe if she doesn’t even show up to work half the time.
And while we’re dealing with the increasingly aggressive threat of cyber attacks on the United States and our electoral system has been identified as a target, Kelly Ayotte skipped an Armed Services Committee hearing on cyber-security just last month. And this all while the Republican nominee for President actively encouraged Russia to commit cyber attacks against American officials.
If Ayotte’s poor committee attendance record wasn’t enough to eliminate any credibility she claims to have on issues of national security, her months of support for Donald Trump to serve as Commander in Chief sure is. National security experts of both political parties have come out to say that Trump is already posing a clear and present danger to the United States.
He’s asked why the U.S. won’t use our nuclear arsenal to strike first, he’s praised dictators like Vladimir Putin and Saddam Hussein, and he’s suggested abandoning our NATO allies. But Kelly Ayotte continued to support him throughout all of this; she had no qualms with handing him our nuclear arsenal and command of our troops around the world. Ayotte only dropped her support for him when she sensed the political winds had shifted and calculated that doing so would be best for her personal electoral odds. On her support for Trump, like on countless other issues, Ayotte puts her political ambition ahead of the security and safety of our nation and it’s people.
But unfortunately, Ayotte putting party ahead of national security is nothing new. Time after time, she has put her party and campaign backers ahead of our safety by opposing common sense steps to expand criminal background checks for gun purchases.
Currently, terrorists and criminals can buy guns without a background check online and at gun shows. And terrorist organizations are aware of this loophole in our gun laws and have encouraged their followers to take advantage of it.
Nine out of 10 voters in New Hampshire, and even 8 out of 10 Granite State Republicans agree that we should expand criminal background checks to cover all gun purchases. Doing so would be an important step to preventing deadly lone-wolf attacks on Americans and help keep our communities safe while still respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
But even after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Kelly Ayotte turned her back on safety and security as well as the views of her constituents by voting to block expanding background checks.
In the final month of this campaign, I expect we’ll be hearing a lot of rhetoric about national security. I encourage voters to look beyond the rhetoric to the the reality of these candidates’ records. Kelly Ayotte’s record shows that she has put her own political future and party ahead of our national security. New Hampshire deserves better.
George Fleming, Barrington, NH
USMC Combat Veteran of the War in Vietnam
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