Colorado U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn said that “behind the scenes” he and other Republican members of Congress were encouraging military officers to resign in protest over President Obama’s foreign policy.
“[L]et me reassure you on this,” Lamborn told a small gathering of so-called liberty voters in Colorado Springs on Tuesday. “A lot of us are talking to the generals behind the scenes, saying, ‘Hey, if you disagree with the policy that the White House has given you, let’s have a resignation.’
“You know, let’s have a pubic resignation, and state your protest, and go out in a blaze of glory. I haven’t seen that very much. In fact, I haven’t seen that at all in years.”
The comments were first published by reporter Corey Hutchins at Medium today.
Hutchins played the tape he made at the event over the phone for the Independent.
The Colorado Independent also confirmed the quotes with at least one other person who was in attendance. Hutchins told the Independent that among the rough 50 people that night at the bar-basement event, at least a few were videotaping the speakers.
Lamborn sits on the House Armed Services Committee. The 34 Republican members of the committee include South Carolina’s Joe Wilson, who made headlines around the country when he shouted out with a red face during President Obama’s September 2009 address to Congress “you’re a liar.”
Also on the committee is Colorado 6th District Congressman Mike Coffman, who is running for re-election this year in one of the closest races in the country. While running in 2012, Coffman, a former Marine, told a crowd at a fundraising event that, although he didn’t know whether or not the President was born in the United States, Coffman believed that the Commander in Chief “in his heart was not an American.”
Neither Lamborn nor Coffman’s offices returned messages seeking comment this afternoon.
Lamborn represents the conservative 5th District, which is home to a host of military bases and contractor businesses. He has easily sailed to victory in general elections against Democrats, but he has struggled against repeat primary challenges.
The “liberty voters” at the event on Tuesday are exactly the Tea Party-leaning libertarian voters Lamborn has to work to win over.
Retired Air Force General Irv Halter, a conservative Democrat, is running against Lamborn in the general election this year and is wooing disaffected conservatives in the district.
“It is inappropriate for Congressman Lamborn to politicize our military for his own gain,” he said in an email. “When I joined the Air Force, I swore an oath to execute policy – not make policy. All of our service members take seriously their obligation to serve our nation honorably and follow the chain of command.
“Our elected officials should not be encouraging our military leaders to resign when they have a disagreement over policy. Congressman Lamborn’s statement shows his immaturity and lack of understanding of the American armed forces. Someone who serves on the House Armed Services Committee should know better.”
Hutchins said Lamborn’s remarks immediately jumped out at him but that they barely made a ripple in the room.
“No, no, no, I mean, nothing. A rustle or something, but really no reaction,” he told the Independent.
“I think he was a guy in a small room with a small crowd and he was just, you know, trying to show that he was one of them.”