Seven U.S. Marines were killed in an explosion at a munitions depot in Hawthorne, Nev., late Monday night (read more here) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided that he would use the tragedy to complain about sequestration.
“I will do whatever I can going forward to support the United States military and the families of the fallen Marines,” Sen. Reid said on the floor of the Senate Tuesday morning.
Mr. President, it's very important we continue training our military, so important. 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.
At least in the next six months, it allows the military some degree of ability to move things around a little bit. Flexibility, we call it, and that's good. But we have to be very vigilant. 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.
You can see Sen. Reid’s remarks here
Unsurprisingly, the reaction to Sen. Reid’s remarks from certain corners of the U.S. military has been less than enthusiastic.
“I can tell you,” NBC military correspondent Jim Miklaszewski said during an interview on MSNBC, “Marine Corps officials this afternoon are taking a strong exception to what Harry Reid implied, saying that this exercise, for example, was planned well in advance, had nothing to do with the budget cuts.”
“There were no corners cut. And if they couldn't afford to have all the safety precautions into place, they wouldn't do the exercise. And in fact, one Marine Corps told us just, one Marine Corps official told us a short time ago that he considers this nothing but pure political posturing on the backs of these dead Marines,” he added.
Watch courtesy NewsBusters:
“Those are some very strong words from the Marine Corps about Senator Harry Reid,” said NBC News correspondent Luke Russert.
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Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.