RELEASE: Arizona Air Force Veteran Lambasts Sen. Martha McSally’s Refusal to Condemn Ukrainian ‘Quid Pro Quo’

Washington, D.C. — Last Thursday, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee wrapped up its second week of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. The damning evidence from those hearings now means that congressional Republicans will need to answer whether they will choose party loyalty over their oath to the country.

Today, the Center for American Progress Action Fund released a new video as part of a campaign to highlight the stories of Americans who believe that their elected officials are failing to uphold their oath to the country by refusing to condemn the president’s actions. The campaign will tell the stories of Americans such as Toni Bannister, a veteran from Phoenix, Arizona, who served as an air national guard in the U.S. Air Force from 1978 to 1984. She believes that Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) ducking questions on the impeachment probe is a betrayal of her oath of office.

When asked at a recent press availability whether she “would be willing to ask a foreign country to dig up political dirt on [her] opponent,” McSally refused to denounce the proposition or the president, saying, “The House is doing what they’re doing. In the meantime, the Senate is doing our work in order to do what matters for Arizonans,” before abruptly walking away. Bannister says that she is troubled at McSally’s refusal to answer this direct question, especially since McSally, too, is an Air Force veteran.

“She knows that’s wrong because she didn’t want to answer that question,” Bannister says in the video. “She took an oath a number of times. Every single time she reenlisted, she took the same oath, and for her to basically turn her back on that oath is unthinkable.”

Last month, McSally signed on to a resolution introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) condemning the constitutionally mandated impeachment inquiry. Graham, along with Trump, described the impeachment inquiry as a “lynching.” Bannister says that McSally’s actions stand in contrast to the oath that she took when she enlisted to serve in the Air Force.

“The idea that anybody would stand by and watch this precious thing that has been fought for and fought for and fought for slip away is infuriating to me,” Bannister says. “The oath, it is an oath, an oath that should be lived your entire life from the moment you take it.”

Bannister says that she worries about what will happen if Sen. McSally and other members of Congress continue to cover for President Trump and the message that sends to the country and the world.

“If we don’t get back into a direction of fighting for this democracy and upholding this democracy, it will go,” she says. “The truth of the matter comes down to: We are a nation that tries to promote democracy and freedom for everybody.” 

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Freedom Alexander Murphy at fmurphy.af@americanprogressaction.org or 202-796-9712.