A van associated with the campaign of progressive congressional candidate Nina Turner called for health care to be paid for by "dismantling the Pentagon," a position that could raise eyebrows with the tens of thousands of veterans in the Ohio district where she is campaigning.
The van, which is owned by a progressive activist and Nina Turner supporter from Seattle, has been traveling around Ohio's 11th Congressional District over the last few months to energize supporters of her candidacy. The van has various progressive positions written on it, including "Free college" and "Taxing the billionaires," along with a cutout of her face on top of it.
The Turner campaign distanced themselves from the "dismantling the Pentagon" position during a phone call with Fox News Thursday, saying it was "unreasonable" to expect them to be held responsible for what volunteers write on the van. They noted that there are thousands of grassroots volunteers across the state and anyone can add messages to the van during various campaign stops.
Turner has posted multiple pictures on her Twitter account of the van, which is owned by David Crow, who calls himself a "full-time activist at the moment." Turner's campaign paid him over $5,000 between May and July 2021, describing the honorarium as a "Community Event Expense," according to the latest Federal Election Commission filing.
Despite distancing herself from the anti-Pentagon messaging on the van, Turner has been a critic of Pentagon spending over the years and retweeted a tweet in October 2020 from "Drop the Mic," a 16-week series that Turner co-hosted about military spending that said, "Defund the Pentagon."
A December 2020 tweet from the account said, "Defund (and we cannot stress this enough) the Pentagon."
In April, Turner blamed the "military industrial complex" for being a "MAJOR contributor" to the climate crisis and called for the Pentagon budget to be cut.
"If you're having a bad day, just think of all the social services we're going to fund after we defund the Pentagon," Bush tweeted last October.
This past weekend, Turner campaigned with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, D-N.Y., another "Squad" member who supports defunding the Pentagon. She was one of three House Democrats who introduced a resolution last year calling for a $350 billion cut from defense spending.
Next Tuesday is the Democratic primary for the special election to fill Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge's empty seat. Turner is facing Shontel Brown, a favorite among some of the establishment Democrats, including failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C.