Former Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy faced a wave of backlash on social media Tuesday after he appeared to question the allegiance of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman during an interview on CNN.
“It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense. I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy,” Duffy said in the interview. “I understand that we all have an affinity to our homeland … I’m sure Vindman has the same affinity.”
Vindman, who fled Ukraine with his family at age 3 when it was part of the former Soviet Union, is a decorated U.S. Army veteran and received the Purple Heart after being injured by a roadside bomb. He serves on the National Security Council and on Tuesday provided testimony in the ongoing impeachment inquiry the House is conducting into President Donald Trump.
By Tuesday morning, #FireSeanDuffy was trending nationally on Twitter, with many social media users and liberal organizations taking aim at the former congressman.
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Duffy, who resigned from his seat in northern Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District and earlier this month became a paid contributor to CNN’s “State of the Nation,” later tried to walk back the comments in a Twitter post.
“Lt. Col. Vindman is an American war hero,” Duffy tweeted. “As I said clearly this morning on air, ‘I salute Mr. Vindman’s service.’ My point is that Mr. Vindman is an unelected advisor; he gives ADVICE. President Trump sets the policy.”
Duffy, 47, a former lumberjack and MTV reality show star, was first elected to the seat in 2010. He announced in August that he would not finish out his fifth term because his ninth child, who was born earlier this month, had been diagnosed with a heart condition that would require more of his time and attention.