Rep. Ruben Gallego was overcome with emotion on Saturday while issuing an apology to members of the U.S. armed forces during an appearance on MSNBC.
Gallego was responding to a bombshell report by the New York Times on Friday that a Russian military intelligence unit was secretly offering bounties to Taliban-linked militants in Afghanistan for killing American troops amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there.
“The United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year,” the Times reported.
The report said President Donald Trump and the White House have known for months about the finding, but have not authorized any response.
According to the Times: “The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.”
“You’re a veteran, what’s your reaction to this?” MSNBC’s Lindsey Reiser asked the Marine veteran.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Gallego replied.
“I remember being a young guy in Iraq, sometimes feeling abandoned by my government. And right now, there’s a young man or woman in Afghanistan that’s reading this and what are they feeling?” he wondered. “Their own president is hanging them out to dry for some reason, some obsession for Putin.”
“I want to apologize to all of our members of the military, I’m so sorry this man is your president,” Gallego said. “This is not how it should be.”