The Journal Gazette
Friday, September 11, 2020 1:00 am

Banks derelict in duty to service members

Patricia Murphy

Regarding reports that the current commander in chief used the terms “losers” and “suckers” to describe our fallen and/or maimed servicemen and women, Rep. Jim Banks posted on his Twitter account on Sept. 4: “0 sources have put their names behind the (The) Atlantic's coordinated, partisan smear.”

The Atlantic is the same periodical that featured Banks in its June 12, 2017 edition in a piece titled “ 'Y'all Sent Me to Washington at an Interesting Time': A freshman Republican lawmaker tries to stay on the right side of his constituents – and his principles – deep in Trump Country.” The author, Molly Ball, was at the time of the extensive interview (which included following Banks in his district) Time magazine's national political correspondent and a former staff writer at The Atlantic.

It seems the focus was to present a bipartisan perspective.

And our own Rep. Banks was the conservative freshman Republican who got to deliver.

The article includes the following: 1) “Banks voted for Trump 'with reservations.' ” 2) “ 'It's either that he's (Trump's) authentic and fat-fingered a tweet, or that he's unserious about how he (Trump) communicates.' ” 3) “ 'I don't work for the president. Where were we, Paul, last week, when I was lambasted on that subject of whether or not I was going to blindly follow the president?' ” 4) “This independence might be 'an act of disloyalty. ... I'm trying to figure out how to navigate that tightrope. I'm choosing to approach my job by maintaining my independence.' ” 5) “In our day together, he had expressed more criticism – albeit measured and cautious – than praise of the president.” and 6) “Banks refers to the current chaos in Washington as 'the frenzy,' a word he uses often as a sort of euphemism. ... 'But much if it (“the frenzy”) is brought about by unnecessary distractions created by the administration.' ”

Probably around the time of this interview, Banks was new to his committee appointments. He currently sits on three congressional committees (and two subcommittees within each committee).Two of these address the U.S. military, past or present – the House Veterans' Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee.

At the time of Banks' Sept. 4 tweet, the allegations of Trump's statements stood alone as reported by The Atlantic.

Since that time, some or all of The Atlantic's content has been independently verified by multiple news sources – including the Associated Press, Washington Post, CNN and a leading journalist at Fox News.

In spite of the validation of the open disparagement of our honored servicemen and women by the commander in chief, Banks, as of Labor Day, had not amended or retracted his statement, nor had he taken measures to stand independently in support of those same servicemen and women whose service and memory had been so cruelly besmirched by the person who “commands” them.

Lastly, in a personal letter (Jan. 29, 2018) to me written in response to my concerns about the release of classified documents, he wrote in part, “I believe in government accountability. ... (M)y belief (is) that transparency is the best disinfectant and vitally important to delivering the truth to the public.”

So we have our congressional representative who stated for the record (an interview is certainly that) that he would maintain his independence and (as is a letter to a constituent on congressional letterhead) that the public deserves the truth.

And yet, Banks does seem to blindly follow along with the current administration – while ignoring the insults hurled at our honored deceased and injured servicemen and women.

How can this be acceptable?


Patricia Murphy, a resident of Fort Wayne, earned a master's degree in public administration from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IPFW.

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