A Trump-backed Republican campaigning for an Ohio congressional seat has some explaining to do after it was revealed he has misrepresented his time in the military.
JR Majewski, who is running for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District seat, describes himself as a proud father, a stalwart supporter of former President Donald Trump and an Air Force veteran who experienced combat during Operation: Enduring Freedom.
“I’d gladly suit up and go back to Afghanistan tonight and give my best to save those Americans who were abandoned,” he wrote on Twitter during the US exit from Afghanistan in 2021. “Why isn’t our ‘President’ all-in?”
But Mr Majewski never deployed to the country, and has never been in combat.
The Associated Press obtained Mr Majewski’s military records and found no evidence that he spent any time in Afghanistan and no evidence to suggest he was ever in a combat encounter.
According to the records, in reality Mr Majewski spent most of his time while enlisted stationed in Japan and spent six months loading planes at an airbase in Qatar.
Some former soldiers noted in social media posts that Qatar was where they were sent for rest and relaxation during Operation: Enduring Freedom.
Despite this, Mr Majewski described the conditions he experienced during his military service as being “tough,” and said he once had to go without running water for 40 days.
His tweet last year is not the only time he misrepresented his service. During a podcast interview he claimed he served in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2003. When pressed for details of his deployment Mr Majewski stayed mum, claiming “I don’t like talking about my military service.”
When confronted by the Associated Press about the discrepancy in his record, Mr Majewski refused to admit he misled the public and instead attacked his opponent, Democrat Marcy Kaptur.
“I am proud to have served my country,” he said. “My accomplishments and record are under attack, meanwhile, career politician Marcy Kaptur has a forty-year record of failure for my Toledo community, which is why I’m running for Congress.”
One of Mr Majewski’s more notable contributions to his Toledo community was the giant mural of Mr Trump he created on his lawn, which helped build the attention he needed locally to launch a political career.
His alleged lies especially enraged Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego, who served as a Marine and was an actual combat veteran.
“You are a piece of s*** @JRMajewski,” he wrote. “Trying to act like a tough guy who saw combat in Afghanistan… instead you are a walking example of Stolen Valor.”
When a person lies about enlisting in the military or fabricates stories about their military career to enrich their image, some people accuse them of “stealing valor” from the veterans who actually did have those experiences.
“Hey @tomemmer and @NRCC are you still supporting your #stolenvalor candidate? You still have him ironically listed as a ‘Young Gun’,” Mr Gallego wrote in another tweet about Mr Majewski. “Though he definitely lied about using a gun in Combat.”
Mr Gallego’s best friend died in combat while fighting in Iraq.
Mr Majewski was at the US Capitol January 6, and he claims he fundraised so that he could bring a busload of people with him. Mr Majewski told WTOL that he brought between 60 and 70 people to the riot.
The Republican did not enter the Capitol himself, but he told a QAnon podcast that he “wanted nothing more than to go into that building,” according to Media Matters for America.