- GOP House candidate JR Majewski has confronted scrutiny for exaggerating his military service.
- The difficulty continues to canine his marketing campaign, however his supporters are dimissing the controversy.
- Asked by Insider why he painted a QAnon image on his garden, Majewski replied: “Why does it matter?”
TOLEDO, Ohio — Two weeks out from election day, Republican House candidate JR Majewski appeared to have discovered a approach to clarify away his unsupported claims about serving in Afghanistan. At least to his most loyal supporters.
“My campaign is not about my military veteran status,” the first-time candidate advised a crowd of roughly 40 individuals who had gathered in a Toledo cafe for a “meet and greet” on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon. That’s regardless of Majewski’s marketing campaign slogan studying: “Conservative Veteran for Congress,” with the phrase “veteran” highlighted in purple.
Majewski, 42, has claimed he served in fight and in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terror assaults, however the US Air Force says it has no file of his service there. Military records obtained by the Associated Press instead show he served largely in Japan earlier than a six-month stint loading planes in Qatar in 2002.
Attendees at the Tuesday occasion largely consisted of Majewski’s long-time supporters and a handful of native GOP officers, most of whom spoke about the significance of defeating Majewski’s opponent, the long-serving Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur. They agreed that regardless of his dubious claims about his military record, he was nonetheless their man.
“This whole ‘did he or didn’t he serve in Afghanistan’ business — I couldn’t care less about it,” stated Tim Fouts, a 67-year outdated Republican resident of Toledo. “As far as I’m concerned, he served his country. He served. Marcy, what did you do?”
Many supporters repeated the candidate’s declare that the episode was the product of a smear-job by Kaptur, pointing to false assertions she made about a Republican opponent over a decade in the past and Majewski’s assertion that his military data ought to have been protected by privateness legal guidelines.
“He’s not the man she has painted him to be,” stated Donna Owens, a Republican who served as mayor of Toledo in the Eighties.
While the native occasion devoted are brushing away the difficulty, it’s evidently impacted the calculations of House Republicans’ marketing campaign arm.
Following the preliminary AP report, the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) canceled almost a million dollars in deliberate TV adverts on behalf of Majewski, primarily chopping his marketing campaign free regardless of the newly-redrawn district’s Republican lean. Majewski’s marketing campaign has additionally been tainted by his associations with the QAnon conspiracy theory and his presence exterior the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
In an interview with Insider in Toledo, Majewski disregarded the ad cancellations.
“Honestly, you know, I’m over the whole money pull,” he stated. “I don’t think that’s something that’s as big of an issue as it maybe appeared to be.”
But he struggled to defend his prior descriptions of his military service, significantly his unsubstantiated declare that he spent 40 days with out working water in Afghanistan.
“Whether there was running water or not, I just don’t understand how that…you know, some — I just don’t… you know, I can’t say, with, as a matter of fact, nor was it my intent to make it sound like, you know, I was suffering, right?” he stated. “But I would challenge anybody who hasn’t been to war, who hasn’t served this country to go to the Middle East in the early 2000s, and do what we did, and not come home and be a little bit proud of your accomplishments.”
“Taking a shower with running water or not is not the highlight of my career, and I don’t understand why it continues to be a question,” he continued. “No offense to you, or anything.”
‘Imagine how she’ll deal with you’
He beforehand labored for an power firm, has appeared in a pro-Trump rap video, and has a colourful on-line historical past that includes involvement with QAnon, the expansive conspiracy idea that posits that former President Donald Trump is working to defeat a cabal of Satan-worshipping, pedophilic elites.
—Oliver Willis (@owillis) May 4, 2022
In his personal phrases, he launched his House marketing campaign after spending years as a “couch conservative” who steadily yelled at his personal tv. Initially a long-shot candidate in opposition to Kaptur in a deep-blue district that snaked alongside Lake Erie, he benefited from Republican-led redistricting and split opposition in the GOP primary to turn out to be the occasion’s unlikely nominee.
Today, he travels round the district in a camper emblazoned with a photograph of himself shaking palms with Trump, who rapidly endorsed Majewski following his victory.
And the occasion as a complete had embraced Majewski, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying the first-time candidate “understands what Ohio needs” throughout a visit to the district in August.
But the AP report in September rapidly took the wind out of Majewski’s sails; in addition to revealing discrepancies in his purported military file, paperwork revealed that he was advised that he could not reenlist. The outlet later revealed that he had additionally lied about that — whereas he claimed it was the results of a dormitory “brawl,” records revealed that he was reprimanded for drunk driving on a US air base in Japan.
Following the NRCC advert pull-out, the Cook Political Report promptly shifted the race from “toss-up” to “lean Democratic” — a supply of frustration for native Republicans.
“When you have a toss-up race, you need to support your candidate,” stated Fouts. “I don’t understand why they don’t see it like I do. They should’ve come right back and attacked her viciously.”
And Majewski has struggled to increase cash since the report, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Days after Insider reported in August that Majewski had violated federal regulation by failing to file a monetary disclosure, he filed documents indicating that he and his spouse have up to $750,000 in private debt unfold throughout house, house enchancment, auto, and pupil loans.
But whereas national Republicans have seemingly given up on Majewski’s candidacy, many native Republicans are standing firmly behind him. Majewski was joined at the Toledo occasion by two native GOP state House candidates and Ohio GOP chairman Bob Paduchik, who Majewski recommended at the begin of the occasion for serving to to prepare a telephone town hall with Trump.
“That guy right there just made one call, and made it happen for us,” Majewski advised attendees, pointing at the chairman. Paduchik gave temporary remarks, praising Majewski for having “stood tough” amid the “slings and arrows that the Democrats and the corporate media have thrown at him and his campaign.”
It was part-and-parcel with Majewski’s personal narrative of the incident.
To hear him inform it, the gildings of his personal file had been all simply “innuendo” unfold by his opponents and a national media bent on attacking him. And he claimed Kaptur had an obligation to help him amid the scandal.
“You would think that when the Associated Press leaks my records, that she would have done what a respectable congresswoman would have done, which is intervene and represent me,” he advised attendees.
In a approach, Majewski was mimicking Trump’s personal playbook when it comes to scandal; deflecting whereas suggesting that an assault on him represents an assault on all who might help him. “If you were to Google ‘JR Majewski’ right now, the first thing you’ll see is that JR Majewski lied about his military record, sponsored by Kaptur for Congress,” he stated.
“So if that’s how I’m treated, folks,” he continued, “imagine how she’ll treat you.”
In an interview with Insider following an unrelated occasion the following day, Kaptur disregarded Majewski’s cost.
“There’s an expression — something about ‘make your own bed and lie in it,'” she stated. “His record speaks for itself.”
Majewski says the NRCC remains to be backing him, citing a recent visit by chairman Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota. In a press release to Insider, NRCC spokesman Michael McAdams provided little additional element on what help the candidate continues to obtain, solely saying that the committee has “made a six-figure investment in this district to defeat liberal Marcy Kaptur.”
But there was a despondency in Majewski’s pitch. He introduced up his military service controversy unprompted on a number of completely different events whereas touting a recent TV ad that he hopes will put his controversies to relaxation.
“I’ve never said that I went to Afghanistan with a combat knife,” he advised attendees. “I’ve never gone on to say that I was like, this Navy Seal or anything like that. That’s all an innuendo that’s pushed by the media.”
But Majewski grew to become additional annoyed as attendees requested questions about the controversy, and what extra could be carried out to reset the narrative of the race.
“I feel any more discussion by me is giving oxygen to a fire that should’ve already been out,” he stated. “That’s what they want.”
Even to today, Majewski has related himself with fringe figures, together with an look earlier this month on the Stew Peters Show, the place his interview was sandwiched between segments claiming that people are being genetically modified by way of vaccines and that the warfare in Ukraine is an anti-Christian plot.
—andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) May 8, 2022
Nonetheless, Majewski denied ever being a supporter of QAnon when requested by Insider at the diner, shrugging off the garden imagery. Asked why he painted the QAnon imagery on his garden, he replied, “Why does it matter?”
“That Q was on there long enough to take a photo,” he stated. “There’s one scenario where there’s a picture of it, and there’s multiple times of me saying I didn’t support it. I think the answer is clear. I don’t support it.”
Majewski advised a local news outlet earlier this 12 months that he was “chargeable for 60-70 individuals” at the Capitol on January 6, the place he stated he “had a number of individuals get injured.” He declared on a QAnon livestream simply days after the assault that he was “pissed off at myself” for not entering the building, the AP reported.
“I was attempting to articulate how robust groupthink is whenever you’re in a gaggle of individuals, and you are not fully aware of all the pieces that is happening,” he told Insider, explaining the remarks suggesting he wanted to breach the Capitol.
“There was a fast second the place it’s like: do I’m going in, do I not go in,” he continued. “But at the finish of the day, I made the accountable determination. I stored my colleges and I did not go in.”
Kaptur, unsurprisingly, has seized on her opponent’s ties to January 6 to paint him as extreme.
“All I do know is that he was at the Capitol on January 6. He was exterior, whereas I was trapped inside,” she said. “I’m very involved, as an American, that somebody like that may even run.”