Reed Attacks Plumb for His Military Service

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) is defending a Democratic congressional candidate in New York, accusing the incumbent Republican of unfairly ripping a veteran.

Moulton says Rep. Tom Reed’s (R-N.Y.) recent comments about Democrat John Plumb were “unconscionable.”

“As a Naval officer, John Plumb risked his life to defend our nation and our freedoms,” Moulton said in a statement provided first to The Hill.

“It’s unconscionable to hear anyone, and especially someone who never served a day in our military, criticize John for the time he spent away from home serving this country. Our Congress, and our nation, will be better off with more selfless servants like John Plumb.”

Plumb is a former Defense Department official and Navy submarine officer. Moulton is a former Marine who served in the Iraq War.

Reed’s campaign last week attacked Plumb for having a residence in Washington, D.C.

“John Plumb is a true Washington insider who believes western New York is simply a vacation from his true residence in Washington, D.C.,” Reed spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg told USA Today.

“His house is his commitment to the area. And, you know, he’s obviously served the country in his Navy career, which I applaud. But … I’ve been [in the district] for generations. I’ve been there with my family.”

Plumb condemned the congressman’s remarks as an attack on his military service. He said that he rented an apartment in Washington while working at the Pentagon and stopped renting it once he bought a home in New York.

“If Congressman Tom Reed had any integrity, and if Congressman Tom Reed knew the first thing about service to country, he would understand this and never question my commitment to New York,” Plumb said.

“It’s disappointing to see Congressman Reed disparage my service for his own political gain – but I guess his behavior is par for the course for a dishonest Washington politician who is desperate to get reelected but has no record worth defending.”

Reed responded Monday, saying he respects Plumb’s military career, but that Plumb is trying to “blur the lines” between his time in the military and political career in Washington.

“This is a career individual who has worked in the Obama administration, trying to blur the lines between the political service he did for Ken Salazar and in the political operations in Washington, D.C.,” Reed said, according to The Evening Tribune.

“His six years in the Navy I respect and recognize, but again this is a D.C. philosophy of trying to blur the lines rather than be upfront with the people of the district.”

Reed’s seat has become a Democratic target as the party hopes to broaden the House map now that Donald Trump will likely top the GOP ticket. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee prioritized this race by adding Plumb to its “Red to Blue” program.

The district leans Republican, but President Obama won it in 2008 and Mitt Romney barely won it by 1 point in 2012 after redistricting. Reed easily won reelection in 2014.

Democrats are feeling emboldened about their chances of taking back the House, but they still have an uphill battle. The party would need to net 30 seats to gain the majority in the lower chamber.

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