The Journal Gazette
Saturday, October 17, 2020 11:06 am

Verbatim: Chip Coldiron statement

Chip Coldiron issued the following statement today:

OSSIAN, IN - Chip Coldiron, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in Indiana's 3rd Congressional District issued the following statement in response to Rep. Jim Banks's continued spread of the Hunter Biden-related stories, emails, and talking points, which are believed by our intelligence community to be part of a propaganda campaign launched by America's adversaries to sow discord and distrust in our political institutions:

“While serving in Afghanistan, I relied on the work of our intelligence professionals every day to keep me safe; I have the utmost respect for their often unnoticed work. It's why I was hesitant to comment on my opponent's recent effort to be a willing participant in the latest foreign influence scheme by an adversary. But, I feel it is my duty to speak up for those who have dedicated their lives to protecting us and speak the truth about the threat my opponent's behavior poses to our national security.

Jim Banks and I both swore the same oath to protect Americans from enemies both foreign and domestic when we signed up to serve our country.

Right now, only one of us is upholding that oath.

As Jim Banks tries to turn alleged emails and text messages from Vice President Biden's adult son into some sort of political scandal, the FBI is investigating whether the messages are a part of a foreign adversary's campaign to influence our election or weaken the possible incoming President. Our intelligence community has already confirmed they have been aware of a year-long foreign effort to use Hunter Biden's past to damage Vice President Biden. While there are questions about where exactly the messages came from and how they were leaked, what we do know is that Hunter Biden is not running for President and that a foreign adversary wants the American people to believe this to be a scandal. We know that America's adversaries have a clear goal: sow discord and distrust in our communities and political system. And we know that Rep. Jim Banks has spent the last week aiding our adversary's effort by spreading this propaganda for political gain, despite ample access to the intelligence resources demonstrating the dangers.

I have no doubt Rep. Banks holds his military service dear to his heart. But, if he is unable to see how he is doing the work of America's enemies for them, if he is unable to put the nation's national security over his own political interests, then he is failing his sacred duty and encouraging further interference, by even more of our adversaries, at even larger scales.

What is most disappointing is that this is not new for Rep. Banks. For someone who was willing to put on the uniform, and who has touted his military background throughout his political career, over the last four years we've seen him disregard the commitment and sacrifice of our intelligence, national security, and military communities when party politics came calling.

Clearly, Washington has changed Jim Banks. He continues to put politics ahead of patriotism by refusing to condemn reports of the Russians placing bounties on the heads of American troops, pushing baseless conspiracies about political enemies, attacking our intelligence professionals, and now happily sharing propaganda meant to hurt our democracy.

Seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, and as Indiana is again suffering from days of record-breaking numbers of cases, it's as clear as ever that Rep. Banks would rather focus on anything but his failed record during this pandemic. Normally, this would be politics as usual, but with national security and American lives on the line, politics as usual cannot be tolerated.

It's time for 3rd District voters to elect a Congressman who will always uphold his oath to the American people. Throughout this campaign, I have remained focused on serving the people of our district and elevating the issues most important to the daily lives of our people. If elected, I will keep that focus, and never stop working hard for Hoosier families, whether that means holding our adversaries accountable, listening to the experts during a global health crisis, or working towards a truly affordable health care system for all Americans.”

Chip Coldiron is a high school science teacher, Army Veteran, and former healthcare worker running for Congress in Indiana's 3rd Congressional District.

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