Ohio GOP Home candidate misrepresents army service

J.R. Majewski speaks into a microphone.

J.R. Majewski, Republican candidate for Ohio’s ninth Congressional District, speaks at a marketing campaign rally in Youngstown final week.
(Tom E. Puskar / Related Press)

Campaigning for Congress in northwestern Ohio, Republican J.R. Majewski presents himself as an Air Pressure fight veteran who deployed to Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assaults.

Army data inform a distinct story.

You are reading: Ohio GOP Home candidate misrepresents army service

They point out he by no means deployed to Afghanistan however as an alternative accomplished a six-month stint serving to to load planes at an air base in Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally and a protected distance from the preventing.

Majewski’s account of his time within the army is only one side of a biography that’s suspect and features a post-military life has been lived in a world of conspiracy theories, violent motion in opposition to the U.S. authorities in addition to monetary duress.

Nonetheless, due to an unflinching allegiance to former President Trump — Majewski as soon as painted an enormous Trump mural on his garden — he additionally stands an opportunity of defeating longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur in a district newly redrawn to favor Republicans.

Majewski is amongst a cluster of Republican candidates, most working for workplace for the primary time, whose unvarnished life tales and hard-right politics might diminish the possibilities of a Republican “crimson wave” on election day in November.

“It bothers me when individuals commerce on their army service to get elected to workplace when what they’re doing is deceptive the individuals they wish to vote for them,” Don Christensen, a retired Air Pressure colonel, mentioned of Majewski. “If you declare to have completed what your brothers and sisters in arms really did to construct up your popularity, it’s a disservice.”

Majewski’s marketing campaign declined to make him out there for an interview. In a press release about his service, a spokeswoman didn’t reply to a follow-up message looking for further remark.

“I’m proud to have served my nation,” Majewski mentioned within the assertion.

Majewski was not anticipated to advance from the August main to problem Kaptur, who has represented the Toledo space since 1982. However two state legislators who had been additionally on the poll break up the institution vote. That cleared a path for Majewski, who beforehand labored within the nuclear energy trade and dabbled in politics as a pro-Trump hip-hop performer and promoter of the QAnon conspiracy principle. He was additionally on the U.S. Capitol in the course of the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

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All through his marketing campaign Majewski has supplied his Air Pressure service as a precious credential.

A marketing campaign advert posted on-line Tuesday flashed the phrases “Afghanistan Conflict Veteran” throughout the display screen alongside an image of a youthful Majewski in his costume uniform. The tagline “veteran for Congress” seems on marketing campaign merchandise. He ran a Fb advert selling himself as “fight veteran.” And in a marketing campaign video this 12 months, Majewski marauds via a vacant manufacturing unit with a rifle whereas pledging to revive an America that’s “unbiased and powerful just like the nation I fought for.”

“I don’t like speaking about my army expertise,” he mentioned in a 2021 interview on the One American Podcast after volunteering that he served one tour of obligation in Afghanistan.

Extra lately, the Home Republican marketing campaign committee launched a biography that describes Majewski as a veteran whose “squadron was one of many first on the bottom in Afghanistan after 9/11.”

However a evaluate of his service data, which the AP obtained from the Nationwide Archives, and an accounting supplied by the Air Pressure draw that image into query.

Slightly than deploying to Afghanistan, as he has claimed, the data state that Majewski was based mostly at Kadena Air Base in Japan for a lot of his active-duty service. He later deployed for six months to Qatar in Could 2002, the place he helped load and unload planes whereas serving as a “passenger operations specialist,” the data present.

Whereas he was based mostly in Qatar, Majewski’s marketing campaign mentioned he would land at different air bases to switch army passengers and provides. They didn’t reply to a direct query about whether or not he was ever in Afghanistan.

Specialists argue Majewski’s description of himself as a “fight veteran” can be deceptive.

Through the Persian Gulf Conflict, nations used as fight assist areas had been designated for the primary time as fight zones regardless of the low threat of American service members ever going through hostilities. Qatar was among the many nations that obtained the designation.

Majewski’s marketing campaign mentioned that he calls himself a fight veteran as a result of the realm he deployed to — Qatar — was a acknowledged fight zone.

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There’s additionally the matter of Majewski’s remaining rank and reenlistment code when he left energetic obligation after 4 years of service.

Most who depart the service after 4 years have notched a number of promotions which can be typically awarded for time served. Majewski exited at a rank that was one notch above the place he began. His enlistment code additionally indicated that he couldn’t enroll with the Air Pressure once more.

Majewski’s marketing campaign mentioned that he obtained what known as a nonjudicial punishment after a 2001 brawl in a dormitory, which resulted within the demotion.

Since gaining traction in his marketing campaign for Congress, he has denied he’s a follower of the QAnon conspiracy principle whereas taking part in down his participation within the Jan. 6 riot.

The baseless and apocalyptic QAnon perception posits that Trump is preventing entrenched enemies within the authorities and in addition includes satanism and little one intercourse trafficking.

“Let me be clear, I denounce QAnon. I don’t assist Q, and I don’t subscribe to their conspiracy theories,” Majewski mentioned in his assertion to the AP.

However previously Majewski has repeatedly posted QAnon references and memes to social media, wore a QAnon shirt throughout a TV interview and has described Zak Paine, a QAnon influencer, as a “good good friend.”

Then there’s Majewski’s participation within the Jan. 6 riot. Majewski has mentioned he raised about $25,000 to assist dozens of individuals attend the “Cease the Steal” rally that preceded the assault on the Capitol. He additionally traveled to the occasion with Paine.

Majewski acknowledged he was exterior the Capitol, however denies getting into the constructing. On a QAnon livestream every week after the assault, he mentioned he was indignant at himself for not stepping into.

In his assertion, Majewski mentioned, “I deeply remorse being on the Capitol that day” and “didn’t break the legislation.”

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