Brad Pfaff criticizes Derrick Van Orden’s presence at Jan. 6 attack at veterans roundtable

BANGOR, Wis. (WKBT) — Democratic candidate for Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District Brad Pfaff criticized his opponent’s involvement in the Jan. 6 attack at a roundtable with military veterans on Monday.

The current state senator said it’s crucial to hear what kind of issues are important to those who’ve served our country, but also important to hear how Republican Derrick Van Orden attending riots at the Jan. 6 makes veterans feel.

One Desert Storm veteran who attended the roundtable said not all veterans support the direction Van Orden has taken leading up to this election. He said he’s “embarrassed and discouraged” by Van Orden’s presence at the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

“I think it speaks to [Van Orden’s] judgment and the hypocrisy,” said veteran Paul Wuensch. “You can’t be a patriot on Monday and an insurrectionist [on] the next day, and come back here and wrap yourself in the flag. As a veteran, a war veteran, I watched the events of Jan. 6 unfold and it was like a kick in the stomach to me. And a lot of emotions went through my head, but the last thing I thought I should do was be there.”

Pfaff said Van Orden attending the insurrection is a major sticking point for veterans he’s spent time with.

“This is not a point of valor,” Pfaff said Monday. “Jan. 6 was not a point of valor. That was something that was extremely unpatriotic. That is not the conduct that is becoming of the veterans I’ve been speaking with.”

Van Orden released a statement Monday saying his military experience allows him to understand issues facing the veteran community.

As for Jan. 6, Van Orden released an op-ed to the La Crosse Tribune a week after the attack where he watched “what should have been an expression of free speech devolve into one of the most tragic incidents in the history of our nation.”

He wrote that he left the area “when it became clear that a protest had become a mob.”

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