CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s inflammatory comments about his Democratic rival’s immigrant background and her family’s military history were the latest in a series of remarks that U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth says make him unfit for the office.
At their first televised debate for the U.S. Senate on Thursday, Duckworth spoke of how her family has “served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution.”
Kirk responded that he had “forgotten (that her) parents came all of the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”
Duckworth was born in Thailand to a mother of Chinese descent and a father who first went to Southeast Asia to serve with the U.S. Marines in Vietnam.
Kirk apologized via Twitter on Friday, saying “Sincere apologies to an American hero, Tammy Duckworth, and gratitude for her family’s service.” The mea culpa followed a rash of criticism on social media and elsewhere.
Here’s a look at some of Kirk’s previous brow-raising statements:
—This summer, Kirk said President Barack Obama was acting like the “drug dealer in chief” when the U.S. made a $400 million payment to Iran contingent on the return of U.S. prisoners. He has refused to apologize for the statement, saying that the payment amounted to a ransom and put Americans around the world at risk.
—In 2015, on an open microphone at a hearing, Kirk said South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is a “bro with no ho” because he is unmarried. “That’s what we’d say on (Chicago’s) South Side,” Kirk said. He later apologized for “inappropriate remarks.” Asked about the comment by the Chicago Tribune editorial board this month, he said: “If I have too quick a turn of phrase, that’s just my bad.”
—Kirk referred to the president as “Barack Hussein Obama,” using his full name as many detractors do, in an interview on WRKO-AM radio in Boston last year. He also claimed Obama wanted to “get nukes to Iran” as part of a nuclear-control deal the Obama administration negotiated. At a news conference later, Kirk said he got “too carried away” with his opposition to the deal.
—Last winter, he called for placing “a number of coffins” outside Democrats’ offices if the Department of Homeland Security shut down in a budget dispute and terrorists attacked.
—He said during a 2015 interview that he wanted the government to help black entrepreneurs, spur “a class of African-American billionaires” and make changes “so that the black community is not the one we drive faster through.”
—During his 2010 Senate campaign, the former Navy intelligence officer acknowledged that he had exaggerated some of his own military record, including stating that he came under enemy fire while flying reconnaissance missions in Iraq.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU