Rep. Tammy Duckworth slammed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Tuesday after the divisive billionaire accepted a Purple Heart medal from a supporter this week.
During an event in Virginia Tuesday, Trump claimed that he “always wanted” a Purple Heart and that it was “much easier” to receive the medal as a gift than to actually earn the military honor.
Duckworth, an Army veteran who earned a Purple Heart during her service, sent an email to backers Tuesday, slamming Trump’s comments and urging supporters to call on the candidate to “apologize for his disrespectful comment."
“I earned a Purple Heart in combat and I know many others who have as well,” Duckworth said. “It’s not something anyone ‘wanted to get.’ We earned them because our country asked us to.”
Duckworth received her Purple Heart after losing both legs piloting a helicopter over Iraq in 2004.
“It’s no surprise Donald Trump accepted a Purple Heart the ‘easier’ way today because that’s the story of his life,” Duckworth added. “He never sacrifices. He always has things handed to him.”
The congresswoman also noted other instances where Trump “showed a lack of understanding and appreciation for the sacrifices of our service members and their families.”
She chastised Trump for criticizing Arizona Sen. John McCain’s service as a prisoner of war and attacking the parents of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who posthumously received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star after being killed in Iraq in 2004.
Additionally, Duckworth tweeted a photo of herself sitting in a hospital bed wearing her Purple Heart Tuesday.
“This is how one usually looks when you are awarded the Purple Heart,” Duckworth wrote. “Nothing easy about it.”
Duckworth sent a separate email to supporters Wednesday that includes her tweet and a response from Joe Walsh, who she beat out in a 2012 congressional race.
“Are you able to talk about anything besides your military service,” Walsh asked. “Come on.”
In the email, Duckworth asks for donations, promising that “no matter what Republicans say about me on Twitter, I’m not going to stop calling out Donald Trump’s shameful disrespect of our veterans."
Trump, who has compared his time at a military-prep school to actual military service, is facing new scrutiny over draft deferments during the Vietnam War. In total, Trump received five deferments, MSNBC reports. Four deferments were for college, while one was for having bad feet.
Duckworth is locked in one of the country’s most highly-contested Senate races against incumbent Republican Mark Kirk, a retired Navy reservist.