Sen. Reid accused of using Marine tragedy to score political points

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the floor Tuesday to link sequestration to the tragic event Monday night where seven Marines were killed during a training exercise in Hawthorne, Nevada.

“Mr. President, it’s very important we continue training our military, so important,” Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor. “But one of the things in sequester is we cut back in training and maintenance. That’s the way sequester was written. Now, the bill that’s on the floor, we hope to pass today helps that a little bit.”


SEE ALSO: Seven Marines killed in explosion during Nevada live-fire training


Seven Marines were killed and eight wounded during a live-fire training exercise that went awry when a 60-millimeter mortar exploded at an Army depot in Hawthorne. Four were killed instantly, while others died while in treatment.

[W]e have to be very vigilant,” the senator continued. “This sequester should go away. We have cut already huge amounts of money in deficit reduction. It’s just not appropriate, Mr. President, that our military can’t train and do the maintenance necessary.”

“These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne. And with this sequester, it’s going to cut back. I just hope everyone understands the sacrifices made by our military. They are significant, being away from home, away from families, away from their country.”

Former representative Allen West said he was “disgusted” by Mr. Reid’s politicization to the tragedy.

“@SenatorReid: Disgusted by your attempt to politicize the death of 7 Marines in NV. If you possessed any shred of honor, you’d apologize now,” he tweeted.

NBC News reports that Marine Corps officials deny any truth to Mr. Reid’s statements, saying this particular exercise was planned very well in advance and had nothing to do with the budget cuts.

One official said he considers Mr. Reid’s comments nothing but “pure political posturing on the backs of these dead Marines.”

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