Biden campaign launches vets coalition after prez’s blunder about American deaths in Afghanistan – New York Post

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GUADALUPE, Ariz. — Roughly 500,000 veterans live in Arizona, making them a critical demographic that could help decide the presidency for Donald Trump or Joe Biden, who won the state by just 10,457 votes in 2020.

So the Biden-Harris campaign launched its veterans and military-families coalition this week at an American Legion outpost south of Phoenix in the historically Hispanic town of Guadalupe — thus including another demographic both candidates are chasing.

Team Biden sent former congressman and Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy to make the sell.

Former congressman and Acting Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy speaking at a Biden campaign event in Guadalupe, Arizona on July 8, 2024. Vanessa Abbitt/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK
American Legion Post 124 members listening to Murphy speak in Guadalupe. Vanessa Abbitt/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Veterans “want leaders of character. They want people who will do right by their families and by their nation,” Murphy said to the audience of Arizona vets Monday before addressing a touchier topic the Biden campaign must contend with: 2021’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal.

Amid Biden’s bumbling debate performance last month, his blunder on Afghanistan flew under the radar.

While arguing the exit was the right move, Biden made the stunningly false assertion that he is “the only president this century or this decade” who “doesn’t have any troops dying anywhere in the world.”

That claim flies in the face of the 13 soldiers who were killed during the Abbey Gate suicide bombing in Kabul during the administration’s calamitous withdrawal from the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

Still, Murphy addressed the chaotic end to the war and acknowledged the fallen and their families.

David Lucier, veteran and Maricopa County Democratic Party Veterans Committee chair, speaking at the event. Vanessa Abbitt/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

“Any time that you leave a country after war it’s messy, right, and we lost 13 Americans. . . . I pray for them and their families,” Murphy said, before crediting Biden and former President Barack Obama for their efforts to “smoke out” Osama bin Laden and boost Afghanistan war efforts in the 2010s.

He didn’t note then-Vice President Biden advised his boss against the raid that killed the al Qaeda terrorist mastermind.

Moments later, Murphy pointed the finger at Trump for the foreign-policy disaster.

“It was Donald Trump that met with the Taliban over Thanksgiving before he left office, this is back in 2019, and cut the peace deal with the Taliban and then said ‘We’re going to be out by May.’ Joe Biden gets in there in January and he had to start with square one because [Trump] said one thing and didn’t do another,” the Democrat said.

Signa Oliver, veteran and Phoenix Union School Board member, speaking at the news conference. Vanessa Abbitt/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

After putting the blame on the previous administration, Murphy concluded: “It was the right decision to bring our troops home.”

The president’s rough debate night continues to dominate the news cycle as he meets with Democrats who are alternately supportive and critical of him continuing his re-election bid.

But Signa Oliver, a local school-board member, said at Monday’s event that taking Biden off the ticket would undermine those who voted for him in the primary election.

Murphy addressed the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. Vanessa Abbitt/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

“If the Washington elite says to us, ‘We don’t care what you did,’ how is that different than what Trump did leading up to January 6th? They are disregarding our votes. Our votes matter, and we’re watching and we’re listening,” said Oliver, herself a US Army veteran.

Even if the president remains on the ticket, he still faces a big fight in the Grand Canyon State. Cook Political Report moved its ranking of Arizona from “Toss-Up” to “Lean Republican” Tuesday after moving several other states into more GOP-friendly columns in its Electoral College ratings.

First Lady Jill Biden was also campaigning on the veteran circuit this week with an event in Florida to make the case that her husband should continue to serve as commander in chief.

Biden is in an uphill battle for veterans this cycle, with Trump garnering robust support from the group. CNN’s 2020 exit polling showed 54% of vets chose Trump versus 45% who voted for Biden.

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