WASHINGTON - Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., an Iraq War veteran who lost both of her legs in the conflict, slammed remarks by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., who suggested Democrats are "in love with terrorists" for criticizing President Donald Trump's Iran policy.
Asked about the comments, which drew strong backlash from Democrats, in a Thursday evening interview on "CNN Right Now."
"I'm not going to dignify that with a response," Duckworth said. "I left parts of my body in Iraq fighting terrorists. I don't need to justify myself to anyone."
Duckworth's helicopter was hit by an RPG during a deployment to Iraq for the Army National Guard in 2004, causing her to lose her legs and partial use of her right arm, according to her Senate biography.
Collins, a Georgia Republican, made the comments Wednesday night during a discussion with Fox Business host Lou Dobbs about escalating tensions with Iran and Democrats' legislation to require Trump to get congressional approval before taking further military action against the country.
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"How venal, how vapid can one party become?" asked Dobbs, after mentioning the measure, which the House of Representatives passed on Thursday evening.
"(House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi does it again, and her Democrats fall right in line. One, they are in love with terrorists. They mourn (Qasem) Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families who are the ones who suffered under Soleimani," Collins said of the top Iranian general killed last week in an airstrike ordered by Trump.
He also accused Pelosi of hypocrisy for not taking a similar stand against the Obama administration's airstrikes in Libya in 2011.
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Duckworth was also asked about Collins' remarks about Gold Star families, to which she answered, "I'm disgusted. I would never, ever use Gold Star families, military men and women, or their families, as any pawn in any political game."
Of Soleimani's killing, she said, "No, I am not sad that this man is dead. I am glad that he's gone to meet his maker," before adding she believed U.S. forces in the Middle East had been put in greater danger because of an escalation in tensions after Soleimani's killing.
Duckworth also addressed the comments in a Twitter thread posted on Thursday.
"In America, even people who disagree with the President vehemently can still love this country," she wrote, along with a clip of Collins' appearance on Dobbs' show. "I love my country just as much as anyone on the other side of the aisle-it's why I volunteered to serve in uniform, unlike Donald Trump."
I left literal parts of my body in Iraq, where I was fighting terrorists.
Donald Trump spent months attacking an ACTUAL Gold Star Family.@RepDougCollins should be ashamed of himself for perpetuating this offensive lie. https://t.co/cboW42lPSu
- Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) January 9, 2020
Contributing: William Cummings
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tammy Duckworth slams Doug Collins: 'I left parts of my body in Iraq'