Gold Star Mothers Join House Republicans in Border Security Push

Rep. Liz Cheney / Getty Images

Republican lawmakers and Gold Star mothers gathered Thursday to promote national security.

Speaking from the House Triangle before a bank of cameras, House Conference chair Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) laid out the "women's issues" case for national security, assembling a group of officials and Gold Star mothers to "talk about why key security issues matter to them as mothers and leaders."

Members of Congress joining Cheney included Reps. Ann Wagner (R., Mo.), Debbie Lesko (R., Ariz.), Billy Long (R., Mo.), and Brian Babin (R., Texas).

Gold Star mothers are those who lost a child in uniformed service to the country.

Debbie Lee, a Gold Star mother, said that national security was incomplete without "border security."

Lee's son was a Navy SEAL. Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc Alan Lee was killed by enemy fire in Iraq in 2006. After her son's death, Lee founded America's Mighty Warrior, a nonprofit that "honors and supports U.S. troops and their families." She was the first Gold Star mother to visit a combat zone, traveling twice to Iraq.

"I put on his boots and picked up his weapon to keep up the fight," she said, to help "our men and women to be successful."

Lee placed controlling the border at the center of the nation's security. 

"As a mother, I think it's crucial right now," she said. "I think it's impacting the drugs, the terrorism, the MS-13 gangs."

Lee hastened to distinguish border security from hostility to those immigrating to the United States.

"They just need to do it through the right process so we know who's here," Lee said.

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, also spoke, saying, "We believe all issues are women's issues."

"This president, this party, recognizes a secure nation must have a military that’s fully equipped, fully resources, and widely respected."

Conway argued that women should be concerned for the lack of oversight of children illegally in the United States.

"We want to make sure that once these children are released into the interior, we know what's happened to them," she said. "Have they been sex trafficked?"

Both the White House and Congress have taken recent measures to support Gold Star mothers and their mission.

Last year, the White House proclaimed Sept. 30, 2018, as "Gold Star Mothers and Families Day."

In the Senate, a bi-partisan group introduced a resolution in February to establish a Gold Star Families Remembrance Day.

And on Thursday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) introduced legislation to "fix excessive taxation for Gold Star families" caused by a 1986 error that increased taxes on military survivor benefits.