‘I’d Follow Him Through Hell With Gasoline Pants On’: Outlaw Platoon’s Sean Parnell Surges in PA as Biden Fails in Afghanistan

Pennsylvania Republican congressional candidate Sean Parnell speaks ahead of a campaign rally with President Donald Trump Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020 in Moon Township, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/AP Photo

Sean Parnell, the Afghanistan war veteran who led the infamous “Outlaw Platoon” for more than a year of heavy fighting against the Taliban and terrorists, is surging in his bid to become Pennsylvania’s next U.S. Senator as Democrat President Joe Biden fails in his withdrawal from the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

“Pennsylvania voters are seeking candidates for office who will put America and the people of our great nation first,” Parnell told Breitbart News. “If the chaos in Afghanistan has highlighted anything, it’s the fact that there’s a gigantic leadership vacuum in Washington, DC. The only way to fix that is to start electing more citizen leaders and fewer career politicians. I’m not going to the Senate to be a follower, I’m going there to be a leader because I know our nation stands on a very thin line between hope and darkness.”

This moment — almost made for Parnell — where Biden completely botched the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan has propelled the war hero from Pennsylvania to new heights in his bid for the U.S. Senate and on the national stage. At every turn, he has been countering Biden’s moves and comments with key tweets, comments, and media appearances — ripping the president and more broadly Democrats and leftists for lies and mistakes, critiquing them with the expertise only someone who actually served there could.

US President Joe Biden speaks during an update on the situation in Afghanistan and the effects of Tropical Storm Henri in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on August 22, 2021. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden speaks during an update on the situation in Afghanistan and the effects of Tropical Storm Henri in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on August 22, 2021. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

“We desperately need some new blood in the US Senate and Sean Parnell is exactly the type of America First fighter that conservatives and Trump supporters need to unite behind,” Donald Trump Jr., former President Donald Trump’s eldest son, told Breitbart News. “Sean will fight for my father’s America First agenda inside the Senate and has proven on the battlefield and in the political arena that he has the spine necessary to stand up to the corrupt establishment in both parties.”

In the first few days of the aftermath of Biden’s disaster — right after the Taliban took Kabul — Parnell appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News to bash efforts by some to evacuate Afghans before evacuating stranded U.S. citizens.

“We should not have a single conversation about what happens with refugees in Afghanistan until we evacuate American citizens first,” Parnell said. “That should be our number one priority. The situation is urgent. We have to get our people out of there before the Taliban takes us hostage.”

In his comments during the appearance, Parnell issued a stark warning about the concerns of letting in just anyone and everyone from Afghanistan without intense vetting of their loyalties.

“We worked with an Afghan interpreter for over a year,” Parnell told Carlson of his time in Afghanistan. “He was on every mission with us; he was on every fight with us. One day, we got tasked with an observation post to watch infill routes from Pakistan into Afghanistan. My platoon that day rolled up on the hill, and we wondered why the Afghan villagers all around that hilltop were watching — they were watching the platoon. We rolled up onto the hill, and one of my trucks hit a plastic TC6 anti-tank mine. It wounded four of my soldiers seriously and killed somebody in my platoon. After that mission was over, during our after-action report, we found out that our interpreter — who had been with us every step of the way, someone who we thought was our friend — we learned that he was working with an Iranian IED cell in Pakistan and coordinated the placement of that mine, which killed one of my troops in a devastating attack. Just because an Afghan works with us, does not mean they are actually safe to bring here.”

TOPSHOT - Afghan people sit inside a U S military aircraft to leave Afghanistan, at the military airport in Kabul on August 19, 2021 after Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Shakib RAHMANI / AFP) (Photo by SHAKIB RAHMANI/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Afghan people sit inside a U S military aircraft to leave Afghanistan, at the military airport in Kabul on August 19, 2021 after Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Shakib RAHMANI / AFP) (Photo by SHAKIB RAHMANI/AFP via Getty Images)

Parnell, a Republican who nearly defeated Democrat Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) in a high-stakes U.S. House race last year, is now running for the U.S. Senate. Assuming Parnell wins the GOP nomination for Senate in the Keystone State next year, he will either have a statewide rematch of his 17th congressional district battle with Lamb or face off against Pennsylvania’s Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in November’s general election. But before he gets there, Parnell is already fighting a major public relations battle with Biden himself over Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan as the combat veteran finds himself emerging as one of the clear messengers for the GOP on how to have ended the war more responsibly than Biden did.

This past week has been a big one for Parnell. He earned the endorsements of Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and of nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin:

He also released an ad highlighting his experience in Outlaw Platoon:

And he has been on a whirlwind blitz across conservative and national media, making appearances everywhere from Carlson’s, Sean Hannity’s, and Laura Ingraham‘s Fox News programs to Levin’s radio show to Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s radio program as well as many, many more.

This moment was more than a decade in the making. Fifteen years ago, from 2006 to 2007, Parnell deployed to Afghanistan the leader of a U.S. Army division that would see some of the most intense fighting in the entire 20-year war in Afghanistan, earning it the moniker the “Outlaw Platoon.” George W. Bush, who started the war several years earlier, was still the president. This was still more than a year before now-former President Barack Obama — a Democrat — would campaign on his now-proven-false promise of ending the war. It was nearly a full decade before Trump, who also promised to end the war and nearly did — Trump reduced U.S. forces in Afghanistan by 80 percent in his time in office and was on track for a full withdrawal this year — campaigned in 2016 on ending the war. And during this time on the ground there, Taliban forces were strong — and terrorists still ran rampant through the mountains along the Afghan border with Pakistan where Parnell and his unit were deployed. Over 485 days of “intense fighting,” according to his campaign website, Parnell and his unit killed more than 350 enemy fighters while sustaining a number of injuries. A whopping 85 percent of his unit were awarded Purple Hearts for being wounded in battle, including Parnell himself who suffered severe head and neurological wounds that ended up forcing his discharge from the Army for medical reasons.

Several of those who served with Parnell told Breitbart News he is the reason they made it home.

“I served with Sean in Afghanistan as one of his squad leaders,” Staff Sergeant Chris Cowan, who served as a team leader with Parnell, told Breitbart News. “He always put his men first, and I have no doubt his leadership is the reason I made it out of Afghanistan in one piece. I’d go back to Afghanistan with Sean right now. In fact, I’d follow him through hell with gasoline pants on.”

Another team leader who served with Parnell, Corporal Rob Pinholt, sung his praises too.

“Having served on the front lines in Afghanistan with Sean Parnell, I’m proud to know him as a friend and a model leader,” Pinholt told Breitbart News. “He’s always led from the front with unwavering principle and tenacity. It’s in his bones; it’s who he is. Soldiers will follow a leader like that into imminent peril to accomplish the mission, as our platoon did, which is why it takes a man like Sean to accomplish great things.”

Upon his discharge from the Army, Parnell went back to school to earn a master’s degree in psychology and wrote the book Outlaw Platoon on his time in the service as well as three additional fiction novels. In 2020, he jumped into politics and nearly defeated Lamb. Despite coming up less than 2.5 percent short, Parnell was not done and began exploring a bid for either that House seat again or the U.S. Senate seat up in Pennsylvania in 2022. When Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) announced he is retiring, Parnell jumped into the Senate race and has quickly moved to the front of the pack on the GOP side, coalescing key endorsements nationally and in-state in Pennsylvania. Donald Trump Jr. is one of the highest-profile national supporters, as is Republican Study Committee (RSC) chairman Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN). In Pennsylvania, Parnell has the support of key U.S. House members Reps. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) — both of whom endorsed his campaign in recent months.

In this screenshot from the RNC’s livestream of the 2020 Republican National Convention, Pennsylvania congressional nominee Sean Parnell addresses the virtual convention on August 24, 2020. The convention is being held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic but will include speeches from various locations including Charlotte, North Carolina and Washington, DC. (Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images)

In this screenshot from the RNC’s livestream of the 2020 Republican National Convention, Pennsylvania congressional nominee Sean Parnell addresses the virtual convention on August 24, 2020. The convention is being held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic but will include speeches from various locations including Charlotte, North Carolina and Washington, DC. (Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images)

Interestingly, Parnell’s meteoric rise comes as he battles the globalist endless war push by Democrats and some Republicans — and as he offers laser-sharp critiques of political correctness in the military. In other words, unlike some other politicians whose backgrounds in military service form a key part of their political identity, Parnell’s is very much not pushing for more war. He is indeed pushing to end the war he fought in, but to do so more effectively than the collective group of career politicians like Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken and woke generals like Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley have thus far failed to do. Take for instance this video of Parnell in a t-shirt speaking directly into the camera that went viral last week on Twitter:

In it, Parnell bashes the recent obsessions from military leaders with Critical Race Theory — which of course cost military effectiveness — and calling for “forever discarding to the ash heap of history phrases like, ‘if we don’t fight them there, we’ll be fighting them here’ or ‘what happens in Afghanistan doesn’t stay in Afghanistan.’” In other words, it is an America First ideology that Parnell has consistently laid out — pushing for an end to the endless wars — in his critique of the failed withdrawal Biden is currently overseeing.

Banks, the RSC chairman, said it is exactly this experience and mindset that would make Parnell an asset for the Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

“At a time when the world’s on fire because of Joe Biden’s disastrous implementation of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Senate could certainly use the insights bonafide war hero like Sean Parnell,” Banks told Breitbart News. “Sean is a natural leader and I’m excited to see so many strong America First conservatives unite around his campaign. I believe he provides Republicans our best chance of winning Pennsylvania in 2022.”

TOPSHOT - Afghans gather on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Afghans gather on a roadside near the military part of the airport in Kabul on August 20, 2021, hoping to flee from the country after the Taliban’s military takeover of Afghanistan. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Parnell’s future may determine which party is in the majority in the U.S. Senate after the midterms as well. Currently, the Senate is split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats but a number of Republican-held seats — like this Pennsylvania one — are up for grabs next year. Republicans have only a few serious pickup opportunities, most notably in Georgia and Arizona where Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) face tough reelection bids. But the GOP, with the recruitment of Adam Laxalt in Nevada, has a serious shot at that seat and also could defeat Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) in the Granite State. But to even get to a spot where one flipped seat could change the majority, the Republicans would need to hold this seat in Pennsylvania from which Toomey is retiring, as well as battleground states like North Carolina, Wisconsin, Florida, Missouri, Iowa, and Ohio. Several of those states also have retiring GOP incumbents, so if any of them fall, the GOP would need to offset any losses with pickups elsewhere to retake the majority.

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