While high-level Republicans are blasting Donald Trump daily on national TV, a candidate for the 18th Congressional District wonders why U.S. Representative Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) isn’t doing the same.
During a campaign stop in Bloomington, Eureka College Professor Junius Rodriguez (D-Eureka) stood outside the Louis E. Davis V.F.W. post and questioned LaHood’s character for saying nothing this week about Trump’s military-related gaffes. LaHood in June told WGLT he is not endorsing Trump but that he is merely going to support the Republican presidential nominee. Rodriguez suggested LaHood was putting the party before his constituents, especially veterans. "How important is party loyalty?," he questioned.
Trump's Military Mistakes
The history professor and self-declared political outsider pointed to offensive, military-related blunders including Trump's attack of the Khans, whose son died while serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq, because the grieving parents criticized him at the Democratic National Convention. "The 2016 presidential race has produced its share of lows, but the behavior that we have seen from Donald Trump over the past four days has been inexcusable," he said.
Rodriguez said the Republican presidential candidate’s joke about “always wanting a Purple Heart” was the worst offense of the week. He told reporters, "Every time you open your mouth with respect to veterans and you're putting your foot in your mouth, you're showing you are really a very shallow person who truly does not understand the issues."
The first-term congressman's father, Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Peoria Republican , has said he will not vote for Trump because of what the GOP nominee has said about Muslims, women, and even other Republicans. Rodriguez said his opponent should, "take a cue from his father and reject the intolerance and bigotry that have become the bellweather of Donald Trump's candidacy."
LaHood could not be reached for comment but has repeatedly complained that Trump needs to "act more presidential."