Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill held a press conference at Soldiers’ Memorial this afternoon in order to join St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in calling for renewal of the expired Workforce Investment Act. This federal legislation, according to Senator McCaskill, plays a vital role in helping military veterans find work when they return to civilian life after service.
A Navy veteran, friend, and Missouri District 1 Congressional Candidate Martin Baker attended the press conference and had the opportunity to ask a question. Citing the most recent DoD anonymous survey, he brought up a recent spike in military sexual assaults – most of them involving a male on male situation – and asked how the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was affecting those numbers.
Senator McCaskill’s response was multi-faceted. She first claimed that the numbers were not relevant because some of the assaults included occurred prior to the repeal of DADT. She then suggested that we would only have an accurate picture of the real numbers when the current investigation – controlled by a committee on which she sits – is completed. [In a shocking twist, those numbers are set to be released shortly after the midterm elections...] But the most telling response was the Senator’s final statement on the matter:
Those numbers are inaccurate because they don’t all necessarily reflect sexual assaults. Some of those are simply instances of unwanted sexual advances or contact.
Martin Baker, to his credit, did not laugh in the Senator’s face. He said afterward,
I’m confused. Unwanted sexual advances or contact? I thought that’s what sexual assault was.
Exactly. According to the definition used in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Sexual Assault includes any unwanted advance or physical contact. I don’t think think that she should be allowed to sit on a committee that investigates military sexual assaults when it is abundantly clear that she is unaware of what constitutes “assault.”
This is not the first time that the good Senator has had trouble with definitions – or, in fact, with the truth. In early 2012, she released a campaign commercial on a conservative radio station in which she claimed to have fought to stop abortions. Her voting record, however, tells a different story.
So, Senator McCaskill, was it “not assault” before it was “assault?” Did you try to “stop” abortion before you did everything in your power to make it easier and more prevalent?
Inquiring minds want to know.