Politics

Barr Compares Time in Congress to Fighter Pilot Opponent’s Military Service

Kentucky Democrats say Barr has ‘obviously lost his mind’ in Toss-up House race

Republican Rep. Andy Barr said that both he and Democrat Amy McGrath “both served our country” in equating his time in Congress to his opponent’s military record. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Andy Barr is getting flak for comparing his three terms in Congress to opponent Amy McGrath’s 20 years as a fighter pilot in a hotly contest campaign for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional district. 

"We both served our country,” Barr told the New York Times Thursday. “I’ve served in a position where ideas matter. My opponent has served her country in the military, where execution matters.”

The incoming started shortly afterward, with a statement from the Kentucky Democrats that the comparison showed Barr had, “obviously lost his mind.” 

“It’s an insult to our current and retired military members to suggest that wearing a suit and dining with bank lobbyists in Congress is the same as putting your life on the line for your country,” Marisa McNee, a spokeswoman for Kentucky Democrats, said in a statement to the local Courier Journal. Watch: We Reviewed Andy Barr, Amy McGrath and Beto O’Rourke’s New Campaign Ads

American Bridge, a progressive super PAC known for giving to Democratic candidates, called Barr’s comments “outright shameful,” the newspaper reported.

“If Andy Barr thinks that there is a single voter who believes the kind of service that involves putting your very life on the line to keep your country safe is in any way inferior to being a politician, then he has a lot to learn about both Kentucky and America,” said American Bridge spokesman Andrew Bates.

A spokeswoman for Barr did not return the newspaper’s request for comment. 

Barr, a lawyer, has spent the majority of his career in politics, starting from his time as an intern for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell while he was in college at the University of Virginia. He has not served in the military. 

McGrath, is a 20-year Marine Corps fighter pilot who flew bombing missions against al Queda and the Taliban. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Toss-Up

In recent weeks, Barr has run attack ads calling McGrath a feminist and “too progressive” for the district’s voters. 

“I am a strong advocate for equal opportunity, regardless of gender,” Barr told the New York Times. “What people around here understand, though, is that feminism used the way my opponent uses it is the politics of entitlement based on an immutable characteristic, the politics of grievance. That is not the way the people of the Sixth District view equal opportunity.”

McGrath, who as a teenager appealed to members of Congress to remove a prohibition on women serving in combat roles, shot back on Twitter. 

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