02:11 - Source: CNN
Bolton: My past comments are behind me
CNN  — 

Iraq War veteran Sen. Tammy Duckworth slammed John Bolton’s selection as national security adviser over his role in that conflict.

“John Bolton’s disastrous record during the Bush administration is all the proof anyone should need that he lacks the judgment necessary to serve as National Security Advisor,” the Illinois Democrat said in a statement released early Friday morning.

“He didn’t just aggressively push for war with Iraq, he was confident that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction,” she continued. “When confronted with the reality that Hussein had no such weapons, Bolton stubbornly insisted that the Iraq War was still a good idea.”

Bolton, whom President Donald Trump picked on Thursday to succeed H.R. McMaster, served as the President George W. Bush’s undersecretary for arms control from 2001 to 2005 before becoming US ambassador to the United Nations. In his State Department role, Bolton drew accusations that he had manipulated intelligence on weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq War, kept information from Secretary of State Colin Powell and was abusive to subordinates with differing views at the agency. Bolton said in a 2015 interview that he believed the decision to leave Iraq was a worse decision that invading it.

Duckworth lost both of her legs in 2004 when her Blackhawk helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq. She was awarded the Purple Heart for her injuries.

The senator also denounced Bolton’s more recent hawkish comments about Iran and North Korea – positions Bolton seemed to try to distance himself from following his selection.

“The important thing is what the President says and the advice I give him,” Bolton said in a Fox News interview Thursday.

However, Duckworth said his advice “could be catastrophic for both our national security and the troops who could be put in danger because of” it.

“Presidents need intelligent people around them to debate tough issues and provide thoughtful, strategic advice on complex natural security challenges,” Duckworth concluded. “Heading into tense negotiations with north Korea, this appointment is yet another example of Donald Trump choosing chaos over the steady, pragmatic and consistent leadership our great nation deserves.”

CNN’s Nicole Gaouette and Gregory Krieg contributed to this report.