Who is Tammy Duckworth, the US Senator from Illinois who would be on the shortlist for the Vice Presidential slot on the Democratic ticket?
Born in Bangkok and injured in the Iraq war, Tammy Duckworth has a purple heart and the instincts of a street fighter.
His name has been mentioned frequently in high-level discussions about the vice-presidential position for alleged Democratic candidate Joe Biden. She has also become a target for Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and other conservatives.
When she recently said on CNN that she was open-minded about the prospect of removing American monuments from American founders and slave owners, Mr. Carlson questioned her patriotism.
She fired back, saying Mr. Carlson should “walk a mile in my legs and then tell me whether or not I like America”.
His challenge to Mr. Carlson gained national attention and drew people’s attention to both his political acumen and his military background. She was shot down in a helicopter during the Iraq war and lost her legs.
Many Democrats believe her military record and tenacity in fighting with the Tories, as well as her experience as an Asian American, would strengthen Mr. Biden’s candidacy. If he chose her as his vice-presidential candidate, his supporters say, she would help consolidate votes among veterans, minorities and women.
Still, many believe Mr. Biden should choose a black roommate instead – Senator Kamala Harris is often mentioned as a possibility. Furthermore, Ms. Duckworth’s home state is democratic security. Other contenders for the Democratic ticket, a group that includes New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, could help Mr. Biden in states where he could use a boost.
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The choice of a running mate has increased importance to Democrats because of Mr Biden’s age and his own assessment of his role.
He is 77 years old and if elected, he would have 82 at the end of his term. He considers himself a “transitional candidate,” and even his staunch supporters assume that if elected, he would not run for a second term.
This means that the person who is his vice president could one day become president.
Ms. Duckworth, 52, is best known for her work on veterans issues. In addition, she has worked on health care policy and has spoken often about national security. She fought in the Iraq war, but she thinks it was a mistake.
“It’s a difficult lesson,” she said. “And I hope this nation will be much more skeptical of why to go to war. ”
She also has a fascinating personal history. She and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, have two daughters, Abigail and Maile Pearl, and she was the first to have a child as a U.S. Senator.
Her father, Frank, an American citizen, worked for the United Nations and her mother, Lamai, is from Thailand.
Ms Duckworth, who speaks Thai, lived with her parents in Singapore, Indonesia and Cambodia because of her father’s work at the UN.
The family was in Cambodia, living in Phnom Penh during a period of violence shortly before the Khmer Rouge came to power in the mid-1970s.
She remembers going to her market with her mother when suddenly the bombs started to fall. Her mother pushed her onto the floor of the car, Mrs. Duckworth said, “so I wouldn’t see the blood.”
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Ms Duckworth then enlisted in the military, following in the footsteps of her father, a Vietnam veteran. She told me once that she never saw herself running for president.
“I don’t have this fire in my stomach,” she said. But she’s a fierce advocate for Mr. Biden, and he made her shine.
During an online fundraiser, he praised his courage in combat and politics. “I can’t think of anyone who showed more courage,” he said. Speaking directly to her, he said, “I’m grateful for you here with me in this fight. ”
Ideologically, Ms Duckworth is a good match for Mr Biden, a centrist Democrat. Among Democrats in the US Senate, she also appears in the middle of the ideological spectrum.
In recent weeks, she has torn apart President Donald Trump and his “failure to lead our nation”, showing her willingness to act as Mr Biden’s attack dog during the campaign.
Mr Biden’s aides interviewed her not long ago for the vice presidential niche, she said in a live discussion in the Washington Post on Thursday. She described the job interview as “positive”.
Who could be Joe Biden’s running mate?
Presidential candidate Joe Biden has vowed he will choose a woman as vice president. Those on the presumed list include:
- California Senator Kamala Harris
- Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice
- Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer
- Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth
- Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
- Sénatrice du Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin
- Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema
Learn more about Mr Biden’s running mate here
After retiring from the military, Ms. Duckworth worked on veterans issues at the national and state levels and was elected to Congress in 2012. She won a Senate seat in 2016, becoming the Junior Senator of the State and following in the footsteps of President Barack Obama. His rise from state politics to national prominence was swift.
Dick Simpson, head of the political science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says she has progressed faster than anyone in politics he has seen in half a century. Mr. Obama, who also made his debut in Illinois politics, has progressed higher than Ms. Duckworth. But as Mr. Simpson points out: “It took a little longer”.
Peter Levin, the founder of a software company in Washington, worked with her at the US Department of Veterans Affairs and says she has an innate talent for politics.
“She naturally brings out the best in people even when there is tension in the room,” he says, explaining that she is adept at giving “her language, her emphasis, to whoever she’s talking to.” in order to build consensus.
His record in politics, however, is far from perfect.
She struggled to get legislation passed in Congress, and she was criticized for her work on veterans issues. She said all the right things, according to her critics in Illinois, but many of the veterans programs she spoke of never got off the ground.
Criticism has hardly slowed her down, and throughout her career she has shown unusual resolve. While recovering from her war wounds at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland in 2004, she received “heavy pain blocks,” she says, but they barely stifled the agony of losing her. legs.
Yet during her recovery and in the years that followed, she hardly showed any self-pity: “For me, it just comes down to the fact that I’m so grateful to be alive. I know it sounds so out of date, ”says. “But I think about what my friends did to get me out and the pilot who transported me to safety. I can’t mope. ”
Her supporters are hoping Mr Biden will choose her as his running mate so she can bring her enthusiasm to the campaign. He is expected to announce his decision this week.