Iowa Democrat Nominee for U.S. Senate Under Fire for Saying He ‘Did Not Serve’ in Military for Joe Biden Critics

170330-N-XT273-078 ABIDJAN, Cote d'Ivoire (March 30, 2017) Vice Adm. Michael Franken, Deputy Commander for Military Operations U.S. Africa Command, speaks at the Senior Leader Symposium during exercise Obangame Express March 30, 2017. Obangame Express, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command, is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, …
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin Stumberg/Released/Flickr

Michael Franken, a retired Navy admiral and the Democrat nominee for U.S. Senate in Iowa, has come under fire for saying that he “did not serve” his nation for critics of President Joe Biden.

During a campaign stop, Franken detailed a story about how he wrote a letter to an Iowa town’s mayor because he was upset with the town’s display of anti-Biden flags that read “Let’s go Brandon” and “F*** Joe Biden.”

“Matter of fact, I wrote the mayor driving up to Sumner, Iowa to go talk to a bunch of people at the VFW. I spent some time in the military. And there’s a ‘Let’s go Brandon,’ ‘F Biden,’ big, big flag, on a flag post right on Main Street, in front of a house,” Franken said.

“I wrote the mayor. … ‘Mayor, what the hell? It’s Veterans Day. I gotta tell you that I speak for all veterans, categorically speaking. Not for that person. I did not serve my nation for him, or her, or whoever lives here. Shame on your town for that,’” Franken continued.

Franken was so upset with the anti-Biden flags that he refused to stop at Sumner, Iowa’s local Veterans of Foreign Wars branch.

“I was gonna stop at your VFW and I just had to keep on riding,” Franken concluded.

Iowa U.S. Senator Joni Ernst blasted Franken over his disdain for the anti-Biden residents of Sumner, Iowa.

Ernst said:

The job of a U.S. Senator for Iowa is to represent all Iowans. Mike Franken should know better than to attack an Iowan for exercising his or her First Amendment rights. The military oath of office requires servicemembers to protect and defend the Constitution. Mike Franken’s claim to speak on behalf of ‘all veterans’ while he attempts to silence a fellow Iowan’s right to free speech is appalling and unAmerican. Let me set the record straight: Mike Franken does not speak for all veterans and he certainly does not speak for this veteran. All Americans have the right to express their political viewpoints however they see fit. Thankfully, Iowans have a Senator in Chuck Grassley who understands that while we may not agree with what others say, we should all protect and defend their right to say it.

Ernst became the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate after her election in 2014. She joined the U.S. Army after college and retired as a Lt. Col. in the Iowa Army National Guard.

Franken is running to replace Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), after a failed 2020 campaign against Ernst.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott (R-FL) also blasted the Senate hopeful for his remarks.

“As a veteran, I am disgusted that Mike Franken claimed he served in the military only for people who held the same beliefs as him. He is unwilling to stop in towns and meet with people who disagree with him and that clearly makes Franken unfit for office,” Scott said.

“I applaud Senator Grassley for keeping his commitment to meet with voters, whoever they vote for, every year through his annual 99 county meetings and other events he hosts in Iowa. Iowa families deserve a Senator who is willing to serve them, even when they may have different views on issues,” Scott concluded.


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