The political tailspin of JR Majewski, a Republican House candidate in northern Ohio, appears to be worsening a week after the Air Force said it could not substantiate his repeated claims that he served in Afghanistan after the terror attacks. of September 11, 2001.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Air Force demoted Mr. Majewski in September 2001 for drunk driving at Kadena Air Base in Japan. Mr. Majewski’s campaign had previously told the news organization that his involvement in a “fight” was the reason he was unable to re-enlist in the Air Force after his first four years. The AP cited military records he had obtained since his initial report last week on Mr. Majewski’s inconsistencies about his serviceincluding where he served.
A campaign spokeswoman for the 42-year-old Majewski did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday about his demotion. In a statement to The AP, Majewski acknowledged that he was punished for drunk driving, although she did not address why his campaign previously said his demotion was the result of a fight.
“This bug is now over 20 years old,” Majewski said in the statement. “I’m sure we’ve all done something as a young adult that we look back on and wonder, ‘What was I thinking?’ And I’m sure our parents and grandparents share these sentiments.”
The trickle of revelations has sent Majewski, who has been heralded by former President Donald J. Trump, into damage control mode.
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On September 22, not long after Majewski was accused of impersonating a combat veteran, the Republican National Congressional Committee canceled television ads it had booked to support him in the final six weeks of the campaign, according to AdImpact. , a firm that tracks campaign advertising.
The next day, Mr. Majewski insisted that he stay in his career against longtime Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat. She said the records of her deployment to Afghanistan were “classified” and posted a photo on Twitter of an undated document that he claimed supported this claim, but military experts told The AP that there are several other steps Majewski could take to support his claims, including having a supervisor or partner vouch for him.
According to sanction proceedings record obtained by AP, Mr. Majewski was demoted from the rank of Airman First Class to Airman Basic after being pulled over for drunk driving on September 8, 2001, at the gate of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. He made no reference to a fight that contributed to Mr. Majewski’s demotion.
Mr. Majewski’s disciplinary report was not immediately available Thursday at the National Archives.
Majewski was deployed for six months in 2002 to Qatar, the Persian Gulf nation now home to the largest US air base in the Middle East, according to Air Force records reviewed by The New York Times last week.
The AP noted that he worked as a “passenger operations specialist” while in Qatar, helping to load and unload planes. In addition to the Air Force records, the news organization used information he had obtained through a public records request from the National Archives, which provided Mr. Majewski’s record to The Times on Wednesday. Those records did not mention Afghanistan.
Inconsistencies in Majewski’s public accounts of his military service prompted renewed scrutiny on the candidate, who had already faced questions about his presence at the US Capitol on the day of the Jan. 6 siege and his sympathies for the movement. of QAnon conspiracy.
Majewski’s detailed role in military records contrasted sharply with his repeated claims on social media and right-wing podcasts that he was in Afghanistan.
After the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan last year, Majewski chided President Biden for the chaotic departure of forces there, saying in a cheep“I would gladly get dressed and go back to Afghanistan tonight and do my best to save the Americans who were left behind.”
He also mentioned Afghanistan during a February 2021 appearance on a podcast platform that has come under scrutiny for promoting conspiracy theories and misinformation.
“I lost my grandmother when I was in Afghanistan and I didn’t get to see her funeral,” he said.