LANSING — Over the final weekend of the War in Afghanistan as our nation’s armed forces worked tirelessly to extract tens of thousands of refugees from the region, Republican gubernatorial candidate James Craig and the MIGOP that hand-picked him both grossly exploited the situation to elevate themselves and line their own coffers.
According to the ‘Chief James Craig’ Facebook page’s ad activity, Craig’s campaign paid to run an ad on the war between the 26th and 29th of this month. Due to the size of the ad buy, the campaign intended for over 1 million people to see it and be directed toward Craig’s Facebook page or website which is currently just a landing page for donations.
Meanwhile, Craig’s allies at MIGOP callously sent out a fundraising email with the subject line ‘Are you proud?’ that used the end of the war to launch new merch.
Michigan veterans were quick to call out the blatant attempts from James Craig and the MIGOP to capitalize off of the end of the War in Afghanistan:
State Senator Adam Hollier (First Lieutenant, Army Reserves)
“Thirteen U.S. service members didn’t give their lives last week so the Michigan Republican party could sell mugs and T-shirts and James Craig could get more eyeballs on his Facebook page. At a time when we should all be coming together as Americans, why any of them felt they had any business trivializing the end of this war as an opportunity to raise dollars is beyond comprehension. We should expect more from those that angle to lead.”
Joe Carney (SP5, Army 3rd Special Forces)
“At such a critical juncture for our country, what’s needed is leadership, not someone who exploits a tragedy for political gain. James Craig’s move to support his own political ambitions under the guise of honoring the 13 Americans who gave their lives for our country was shameful.”
Al Orpa (United States Marine Corps)
“When Americans should be honoring our heroes and grieving with their families and friends, James Craig saw an opportunity to boost his political career. For him to use these last moments of the War in Afghanistan to inject himself into the story for his own benefit rather than keep the focus on our troops isn’t leadership — it’s showmanship.”
MDP chair Lavora Barnes also released the following statement:
“After 20 years of the War in Afghanistan, these gross fundraising tactics from James Craig and the MIGOP weren’t just deeply disrespectful to those that served in the region, they came at the expense of everyone for whom this war has touched over the past two decades — veterans, active duty, and civilians alike. Evidently for Craig, leading from the front meant boosting his campaign at the expense of American troops putting their lives on the line. And while the families of the final soldiers to give their lives processed their loss, the MIGOP didn’t hesitate to exploit the gravity of this situation for their own gain. It’s unequivocally dishonorable, and Michiganders deserve an explanation from Craig and the MIGOP on why crass attempts to sell merch and boost a candidacy were their first course of action in response to the end of the longest war in American history.”