Dan Crenshaw

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, left, listens as Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought testifies before the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 12, 2019, during a hearing on the fiscal year 2020 budget. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


An anti-Trump veterans group called “Common Defense” posted video to their Twitter account Thursday of two men described as combat veterans aggressively following Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) to an elevator while questioning his support for President Trump.

The group, which bills itself as “the country’s only veteran-led grassroots organization committed to engaging, training and mobilizing veterans to elect accountable leaders and promote progressive values in 2020 and beyond”, is in favor of impeaching the President. Crenshaw, a wounded war veteran who served multiple tours in Afghanistan, is not.

In a teaser they published along with the video, the group states “GOP Rep @DanCrenshawTX hid in an elevator today when combat vets confronted him about his support for Donald Trump.” Watch the 2+ minute video below:

“[We have confirmed] the identities of the men as U.S. Army veterans Jason Hurd, 40, and Alan Pitts, 36, a Purple Heart recipient,” Newsweek reported.

It’s not my place to get in the middle of a “veteran vs. veteran” battle, but this video angered me for a number of reasons:

1) Crenshaw did not “hide” from anyone. The video clearly shows attempts by Crenshaw, who maintained his composure, to engage in conversation within 20 seconds of the encounter starting.

Once they made it to the elevator, Crenshaw pointed out it was a “members only” elevator. There’s a reason it’s stipulated that way for members of Congress and their staff that pretty much everyone should understand (safety and security, hello?). It had nothing to do with “hiding.”

2) As Crenshaw pointed out, they were there to make a video, not to have a dialogue. This was to promote their group, not to have a substantive back and forth. Crenshaw tried a number of times to respond to what was being said but the guy stalking him just continued to talk over him, actually questioning his commitment to his country.

3) At one point, the guy on Crenshaw’s heels says “you need to get your courage back, man.” He said this to a Navy SEAL who lost his eye in combat, and who then decided to continue to serve his country once he came home by running for Congress. I don’t think he needs a lecture on courage from anyone.

I asked people on my Twitter feed to give me their takes on what happened, and was especially interested in takes from military veterans. Here are some of the responses:

(Duke confirmed with me that he actually meant to say Crenshaw “would not owe political allegiance” to combat veterans even if he wasn’t one himself.)

Sadly, instead of doing actual journalism on this story, Newsweek decided to write about it using the very same biased take Common Defense gave:

Apologies for the typos in that last tweet. By that point I was really annoyed, not just with how Common Defense had falsely portrayed what happened, but with Newsweek treating the group’s spin as the gospel truth.

This is clearly a case of a blockbuster story not coming anywhere close to living up to the hype. The actual footage shows a far different story than how both Common Defense and Newsweek spun it. In reality, Crenshaw handled what happened in a much classier way than how others in a similar position would have.

— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –