Sen. Kirk's Racially-Charged Comment On Duckworth Is Among His Worst Gaffes
By Rachel Cromidas in News on Oct 28, 2016 2:24PM
Mark Kirk / Getty Images / Photo: Gabriella Demczuk
Sen. Mark Kirk's latest racially-charged gaffe came Thursday night during his debate with U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who is challenging him for his senate seat this fall.
The comment came after Duckworth, a military veteran who lost both of her legs in Iraq, described her family's history of service in the U.S.
"My family has served this nation in uniform, going back to the Revolution. I'm a daughter of the American Revolution. I've bled for this nation," she said. "Families like mine are the ones that bleed first."
Kirk replied, seemingly intending to discredit her statement: "I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington."
Duckworth is Asian-American—She was born in Thailand and her mother is of Chinese decent and her father is an American, according to NBC.
Duckworth Tweeted a reply to Kirk's comments after the debate:
Kirk's comment underscores an uncomfortable bias against Americans of mixed racial backgrounds—that they are less patriotic or contribute less to the country, which is not true—as listeners were quick to point out:
To be clear, GOP Sen. @MarkKirk just questioned the Revolutionary War service of Tammy Duckworth's family because she is of mixed heritage.— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) October 28, 2016
Even Donald Trump's campaign manager weighed in on Kirk's gaffe, in an ever-so-ironic moment:
The same Mark Kirk that unendorsed his party's presidential nominee and called him out in paid ads? Gotcha. Good luck. https://t.co/IV7miL317s— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) October 28, 2016
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee called for an apology from Kirk over the “offensive, wrong, and racist" remarks Thursday night. A statement from the Kirk campaign published in the Washington Post and elsewhere did not apologize, but referenced several of Kirk's critiques of Duckworth's campaign.