As Ben Shapiro would say, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is dancing on the graves of dead Marines in order to score political points. Today during remarks on the Senate floor about an explosion at an Army base in Nevada last night that killed seven Marines during a training exercise, Reid shamelessly implied sequestration and cut backs in funding were to blame for the accident.
As I indicated, it was quite a big explosion. We'll follow this news very closely. I will do whatever I can going forward to support the United States military and the families of the fallen Marines.
Mr. President, it's very important we continue training our military, so important. But one of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance. That's the way sequester was written. Now, the bill that's on the floor, we hope to pass today helps that a little bit. At least in the next six months, it allows the military some degree of ability to move things around a little bit. Flexibility, we call it, and that's good. But we have to be very vigilant. This sequester should go away. We have cut already huge amounts of money in deficit reduction. It's just not appropriate, Mr. President, that our military can't train and do the maintenance necessary.
These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne. And with this sequester, it's going to cut back. I just hope everyone understands the sacrifices made by our military. They are significant, being away from home, away from families, away from their country.
Just for clarification purposes, when Reid referred to "Mr. President" during his remarks, it wasn't in reference to President Obama, but the presiding officer of the U.S. Senate.
The Marine Corps isn't happy:
NBC's Jim Miklaszewski reports: Now I can tell you, Marine Corps officials this afternoon are taking a strong exception to what Harry Reid implied. Saying that this exercise, for example, was planned well in advance, had nothing to do with the budget cuts. There were no corners cut, and if they couldn't afford to have all the safety precautions into place, they wouldn't do the exercise.
And in fact, one Marine Corps official told us a short time ago that he considers this nothing but pure political posturing on the backs of these dead Marines.
UPDATE: Col. Allen West weighs in.