SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk has raised his Democratic rival’s immigrant background and mocked her family’s history of military service, saying he had forgotten the congresswoman’s “parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”
The comment came Thursday evening during the first televised debate between Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, at the University of Illinois in Springfield. The Illinois Senate contest is one of a handful of races that could determine which party controls the chamber next year.
Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, was born in Bangkok. Her mother is Thai and she has said her father first went to Southeast Asia while serving with the Marines in Vietnam. The congresswoman said her family has “served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution.”
Kirk responded: “I had forgotten your parents came all of the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”