WaPo ‘smear’ of highly-decorated Iraq war veteran, Senate candidate omits critical info

EXCLUSIVE: The Washington Post is facing a backlash after the media outlet quoted three experts to cast doubt on the validity of a bullet wound sustained in Afghanistan by a top Republican Senate candidate, but omitted the trio’s ties to the Democratic Party.Former Navy SEAL Tim Sheehy, who is running to unseat Democrat Sen. Jon Tester, went to the emergency room after a reported fall in Montana’s Glacier National Park in 2015. Sheehy was asked about a bullet found in his arm during the visit and told a National Park ranger that he had accidentally shot himself with a Colt .45 revolver — but Sheehy recently revealed that he actually suffered the injury while serving in Afghanistan in 2012.Sheehy told the Washington Post that he never reported it to his superiors to avoid an investigation, telling the outlet that he was unsure where the bullet came from. He said he did not report the incident in an effort to protect his former platoonmates.The Post, which began the report by claiming Sheehy left the bullet in his arm “as evidence of his toughness,” spoke with several individuals who called Sheehy’s story into question. Public records reviewed by Fox News Digital reveal these same individuals combined have donated thousands of dollars to the Democratic Party.FMR NAVY SEAL RIPS BIDEN’S AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL AFTER MARK MILLEY GRILLED ON CAPITOL HILL: ‘ABJECT FAILURE’Upon looking at an X-ray of the wound, which was provided to the Post by Sheehy, Joseph V. Sakran, a Johns Hopkins trauma surgeon and longtime Democrat donor, raised questions about the Republican Senate candidate’s story. Sakran told the Post that Sheehy’s wound “probably depicts a bullet, but it is not possible to tell what type of weapon it came from nor the age of the wound.” Sakran previously worked as a Democrat staffer, serving as a health policy fellow for Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. Filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) reveal the doctor has a long history of contributing to the campaigns of Democrat candidates up and down the ballot, including giving at least $21,000 to groups such as the Hillary Clinton Victory Fund, Hillary for America, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and Biden for President.Sakran’s website calls him a “nationally recognized activist coalition builder” and said his “activism first achieved national recognition when he founded Doctors for Hillary.”DONALD TRUMP ENDORSES ‘AMERICAN HERO’ TIM SHEEHY IN BATTLEGROUND SENATE RACESakran has also made public comments against former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Sheehy for the Montana Senate in 2024. Sakran wrote on Jan. 6, 2021 that the former GOP president “left an undeniably dark Stain on U.S. History.” Additionally, White House visitor logs reveal that Sakran has made at least four visits to the Biden White House.”We aren’t shocked the Washington Post chose to cite known Democrats for their smear piece against decorated combat veteran Tim Sheehy,” a Sheehy for Montana spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement. “These are the same people that pushed the Democrats’ Russian hoax and pretend every day that President Biden is mentally fit and that our border isn’t in crisis. Tim Sheehy will defeat Jon Tester this November and will join President Trump, so we can drain the swamp for good.”The outlet spoke with another expert, former Air Force attorney Rachel VanLandingham, who questioned Sheehy’s hesitancy to report the incident. She said she believes it to be “very unlikely a years-old potential ricochet injury would compel naval investigators to open any kind of investigation based on a park ranger’s report.” VanLandingham has made multiple donations to ActBlue and Hillary for America, records show. Additionally, she has referred to Trump as a “terrorist recruiting poster child.”VanLandingham, who said she is currently a registered Democrat but finds “both parties extremely problematic,” told Fox News Digital in an email that her political views never came up in conversation while contributing to the piece.”My political views did not, and have never, come up in conversation with this reporter during this particular interview, nor in any others; again, my expertise is viewed is neutral, I hope, and I want to keep it that way,” VanLandingham said. “I have publicly criticized President Biden and certainly Secretary of Defense Austin in the past, and would doso [sic] again if my professional judgment deems it warranted.”She also added that she was appointed by President Trump’s last Secretary of Defense to the Military Justice Review Panel as evidence that she is known as “an unbiased, straight-shooting military law expert unafraid to speak her mind.”Despite claiming she is “neutral” and that her “analyses are not based on politics, but on the law and facts,” a Fox News Digital review found several examples of VanLandingham attacking Trump and his supporters. “Trump is a terrorist recruiting poster child. Tx for making America less safe & w/ less real power!” she wrote in 2017.In 2020, VanLandingham also wrote that “Trump’s call to label Antifa ‘domestic terrorists’ is dangerous.””Yeah welcome to the party I felt that way when racist thuggish Trump and his domestic & foreign enablers won the electoral college in 2016 – and that way during glorification of our deeply racist nation at Charlottesville the next year. Yesterday was not a surprise. Pathetic, yes” she wrote on January 7, 2021, the day after the January 6 Capitol riot.After contributing to the Post report, VanLandingham painted Sheehy as a “deeply flawed hero whose fitness for office is highly questionable,” in an April 6 post on X. The attorney has been a vocal supporter of Biden, calling his decision to select Vice President Kamala Harris as his running mate an “excellent” decision.Vanlandingham shared a USA Today op-ed in 2021 from David Rothkopf, a vocal Biden supporter who has called Trump a “greater” threat to the United States than al-Qaeda. The op-ed was titled, “Trump and his supporters are dangerous enemies of American democracy.”The Post also spoke with the director of the Military, Veterans & Society program at the Center for New American Security, Katherine Kuzminski, who said she “believed it was highly unlikely that a civilian hospital would report a years-old bullet wound to the Navy or that anyone would fear such a report would result in an investigation,” according to the report.Kuzminski, who got a picture with Biden and the first lady in 2023 and has made multiple visits to the Biden White House, wrote in a 2016 post on X that Trump “is no Republican.”She also said it was “unfair” for Republicans to criticize the military’s focus on diversity, telling the Hill in May 2023 that “if what we’re afraid of is Vladimir Putin thinking poorly of our military readiness because we enable pronouns, all we have to do is look at the outcomes on the battlefield that the Russian army is facing right now.”The Washington Post, Sakran, Kuzminski, Tester’s campaign, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the Navy did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., blasted the article as a “politically motivated smear.””A ridiculous, politically motivated smear,” Cotton wrote in a post on X. “Sheehy has a decorated record of service and he’ll fight Biden’s disastrous policies. That’s why the Washington Post is attacking him—they know he can win.”
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