Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate repeats false claim that he served as an Army Ranger

2332

Pennsylvania Republican Dave McCormick never served as an Army Ranger, but he has repeatedly claimed he did.

Republican Dave McCormick has been touting himself as a former "Army Ranger" in his Senate primary campaign. But the Connecticut-based hedge fund CEO turned Pennsylvania candidate never earned that title.

McCormick is one of several Republicans seeking his party's nomination to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) in November.

At a March 14 meet-and-greet event in Grove City, Pennsylvania, McCormick told voters, "I was the co-captain of the wrestling team at West Point. I went to the 82nd Airborne Division. I was a Ranger and I served in the 82nd Airborne Division, which is one of the great divisions in our country."

He repeated a nearly identical line at a March 5 campaign appearance in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.

"I was the captain of the wrestling team at West Point, and then I was in the Army. I went into the 82nd Airborne Division. I went to the first Gulf War. I was a Ranger," he said at the time.

At a Feb. 23 event in West Chester, Pennsylvania, McCormick said he would present himself as tougher than Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is leading the Democratic primary field.

"He's got a big following," McCormick said of Fetterman. "But I like that contrast with me, particularly because here's a guy who's got that big, you know, he's got that big persona and the tattoos and walks around, the tough guy. And, you know, he's a trust fund guy. He went to Harvard. And I'm going to run as the Army Ranger paratrooper who actually am more of a badass than he is. So that's the contrast, right?"

McCormick reportedly used a similar line at another February appearance, in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, comparing himself to Fetterman by saying, "You've got the guy who is walking around with the tattoos and the shorts and all that stuff and really presenting himself as a badass. Then you got the guy who was an Army Ranger who actually went into combat and actually is one."

McCormick also referred to himself as "a paratrooper and a Ranger" in a Feb. 15 interview on the Mark Levin Show.

In 2019, the website for the hedge fund McCormick ran posted a Financial Times story with the title "Former US Ranger Ready to Take Command at Bridgewater." The piece identifies him twice as an "Army Ranger" and still appeared on the site as of Thursday.

The Army's Special Operations Command holds that only military members who serve or served in the Army's 75th Ranger Regiment can call themselves a "U.S. Army Ranger." While McCormick never served in the 75th, he did complete the Army's Ranger Course training program in 1988. That would only entitle McCormick to say he was "Ranger qualified," according to U.S. military standards.

A McCormick spokesperson told the American Independent Foundation: "Upon receiving his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, Dave attended Airborne School and Ranger School, where he graduated with honors at one of the toughest schools in the Army. Dave was assigned to the Army's All-American 82nd Airborne Division, where he was in the first wave of American troops sent into Iraq during the Gulf War in 1991. His unit was tasked with clearing minefields and destroying enemy munitions, and he was awarded the Bronze Star."

In recent years, media fact-checkers have repeatedly criticized other candidates for using the term "Army Ranger" without having earned the title.

Since joining the campaign, McCormick has also made news for his record of outsourcing jobs and for touting the endorsement of Sean Parnell, McCormick's former primary opponent who dropped out of the GOP race in November after he lost custody of his three children amid domestic abuse allegations.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.