October 5, 2022
“Tyler Kistner’s lies about his own military record amount to what we combat veterans call stolen valor.” – J. Michael Orange, Vietnam combat veteran
Congressional Leadership Fund forced to correct an ad that lied about Tyler Kistner’s military record – VoteVets demanded ad be taken down
Kistner in February 2020: “I’ve been in fights. I’ve been in combat.”
Kistner in April 2020: “I have never claimed to be a combat veteran.”
Burnsville, MN – Today, previously unreported audio was published of Tyler Kistner making false claims about his military record to voters during a February 2020 candidate forum.
According to the Minnesota Reformer, Kistner told an audience, “I’ve been in fights. I’ve been in combat,” and repeatedly exaggerated his military record on the campaign trail in 2020.
The Reformer also reported that Kistner once told an audience, “As a veteran, I deployed to the front lines six months at a time,” during an October 2020 town hall.
Later that year, when a GOP primary challenger pushed him on his exaggerations, Kistner was forced to disclose his military record and admit that he’d never been in combat.
Last week, national veterans advocacy group VoteVets urged Twin Cities TV stations to stop airing an ad from a GOP super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), in which the group touts Kistner’s “four combat tours.” The ad also ran on streaming platforms like Hulu and Youtube TV for nearly three weeks. CLF this week has since corrected the ad.
Kistner has served overseas in the military, but it is false to say he has served four combat tours.
“When I joined the Marines in 1968, I took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Honoring that oath led me to Vietnam, and it led me into combat. I fought beside many Marines who did not come home from Vietnam. My two best friends over there came home so traumatized they committed suicide,” said J. Michael Orange, Vietnam combat veteran. “When Tyler Kistner lied about his military service to score political points for his own personal gain, he dishonored his own service and the service of every single veteran who has ever sacrificed in combat to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Tyler Kistner’s lies about his own military record amount to what we combat veterans call stolen valor. These lies disqualify him from serving in public office; especially the US Congress.”
“The men and women who serve our country in uniform make unimaginable sacrifices to keep us safe. I have always respected Tyler’s service to our nation, but I am stunned that he misrepresented that record in order to win votes,” said Rep. Angie Craig. “Tyler Kistner owes an immediate explanation to Minnesotans for why he lied about his military record on the campaign trail.”
Minnesota Reformer: Congressional candidate Tyler Kistner has repeatedly suggested he saw combat, but he didn’t
Ads touting Kistner’s ‘four combat deployments’ were taken down after a veterans’ group complained
- During his first bid for Congress in 2020, Republican candidate Tyler Kistner repeatedly suggested he saw combat while in the U.S. Marine Corps, despite military records that say otherwise.
- A spokesman says Kistner was referring to the fact that he led combat missions, advising and assisting “partner forces” against violent extremist organizations in the non-combat region of North Africa.
- If he saw combat, he would have received a combat action ribbon, and Kistner acknowledges he never earned one. The military considers combat to be engaging with the enemy on the ground in a combat zone.
- During a February 2020 candidate forum, Kistner said, “I’ve been in fights, I’ve been in combat. I know exactly what it’s gonna take.”