Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) has introduced legislation aimed at awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the fallen heroes from the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Zinke, a former Commander in the Navy SEALs, personally knew the two ex-Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty who died in the terrorist attack. Two other Americans—U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and foreign service officer Sean Smith—were also killed by the terrorists. Zinke, his office noted, led the BUDS, or Basic Underwater Demolition/SEALs, training for Woods during his time in the SEALs while Woods was under his command. He was also personal friends with Woods and Doherty.
“On September 11, 2012 America lost four patriots, and in the Navy SEALs we lost two brothers. This tribute is long overdue,” Zinke said in a release that will come out tomorrow morning, but was provided to Breitbart News ahead of its public release. “Honoring Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods with Congressional Gold Medals should not be about politics; it’s about paying respect and homage to four American patriots who served our nation honorably in some of our darkest hours. I am grateful for their service to our nation and will work with Senator Markey to build a large and bipartisan base of support for this bill.”
Zinke also appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News program on Monday evening to discuss the bill.
In addition to that appearance on Fox, Zinke told Breitbart News that this effort is explicitly non-political and is about honoring the fallen patriots.
“I have a lot of criticism for the Administration’s handling of Benghazi, but to me this is not about politics,” Zinke said. “Benghazi was personal. I lost friends, brothers, and America lost dedicated patriots. I want to make this honor about the four American heroes who lost their lives defending our embassy.”
Zinke added his thoughts on Woods and Doherty.
“Tyrone and Glen were good men and good SEALs,” Zinke told Breitbart News. “It shook the community.”
The effort to grant Congressional Gold Medals to the fallen American heroes has bipartisan support right off the bat, with several Democrats signing on board to the House bill. Original House cosponsors include Reps. Susan Davis (D-CA), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Chris Stewart (R-UT) and David Rouzer (R-NC).
In the Senate, Democratic Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) will be introducing the companion bill—yet another sign this effort has bipartisan support. Markey won a special election when now Secretary of State John Kerry gave up his Senate seat to replace former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in that position at the beginning of President Barack Obama’s second term. He serves alongside Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in representing Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate.