Veteran Ohio Secretary of State tackles Majewski’s alleged military misrepresentations

By: - September 30, 2022 4:55 am

Ohio Republican Sec. of State Frank LaRose (L) and congressional candidate J.R. Majewski (R). LaRose photo provided by LaRose team; Majewski photo from previous WEWS story.

The following article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.

Congressional candidate J.R. Majewski still hasn’t provided definitive evidence he is an Afghanistan combat veteran, and Ohio Republicans are urging him to speak up if he is telling the truth — especially as documents casting doubt on other parts of his story have surfaced.

The backlash continues to grow after military documents obtained by the Associated Press do not tell the tale that Majewski has been sharing on his campaign trail.

RELATED AP: Ohio GOP House candidate has misrepresented military service

The AP revealed that he has no record of fighting in the country, but was actually about 1,600 miles away in Qatar loading planes.

Majewski won the Republican primary for Ohio’s 9th congressional district, which has parts of Ottawa, Sandusky, and Erie counties.

His military experience shows he was deployed but far away from any combat. He spent six months in Qatar loading planes, which Shields said is a valuable job but definitely not combat.

“Anyone insinuating I did not serve in Afghanistan is lying,” Majewski said during a rally Friday.

Majewski’s campaign reached out to offer an interview with a service member who will allegedly say Majewski served in Afghanistan. The discussion would be conducted with the condition that OCJ does not reveal who this person is. At this point, OCJ declined that interview because it does not reach the station’s journalistic standard for anonymity.

OCJ asked for additional information, such as a supervisor who was stationed in Afghanistan whose records prove that they were physically there, or for an on-camera interview with full documentation, but those requests were not answered by the Majewski campaign.

While some Veterans around Ohio have been speaking out against this, Ohio GOP politicians have been pretty quiet about this, until now.

RELATED: Ohio military veterans condemn J.R. Majewski’s alleged misrepresentation of military experience

“It’ll be up to him to, you know, get the facts out there,” Ohio Republican Sec. of State Frank LaRose told OCJ Wednesday.

He said this isn’t the first time LaRose had to deal with veterans allegedly falsifying records. He was a U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret, which is a highly prestigious guerrilla warfare expert.

One of the men in his old unit, who wasn’t a Green Beret but was still in the army, ended up being investigated and was caught falsifying his record, leading to him being “put out” of the military, he said.

“They call that stolen valor,” LaRose said. “When people do that, it’s a shameful thing to do.”

He called this behavior “crooked,” which is why LaRose says Majewski, if he is telling the truth, needs to share the evidence now and clear his name.

“I hope that he’s able to get the facts out there and get the information out there,” the secretary said.

LaRose is trying to look at the situation semi-optimistically for the GOP candidate, noting that the Toledo-hopeful has assured him he isn’t lying.

“He looked me in the eye and he said, ‘I did serve in Afghanistan and we’re going to get the information out there,'” LaRose said. “I’ll leave it up to him to do that.”

But after the interview with LaRose was conducted, the AP released a new investigation that alleges this wasn’t the only thing Majewski had not told the truth about.

RELATED: Records contradict Majewski’s account of military punishment

Majewski finished his service just one rank above where he started, which numerous veterans OCJ reached out to said is a rarity for a normal military career. Majewski’s team originally told AP this was because of a fight he got into with another airman, but records show that he actually was demoted for drunk driving and is ineligible to re-enlist.

“This mistake is now more than 20 years old. I’m sure we’ve all done something as young adults that we look back on and wonder ‘what was I thinking?’ and I’m sure our parents and grandparents share these sentiments,” Majewski told the AP journalists.

Air Force veteran and state House Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) was one of the many veterans to speak out against this crime.

“A demotion while on active duty is a rare and serious punishment for a crime or wrongdoing, and adds to an increasingly troubling pattern we’re learning with Majewski,” Weinstein said. “His law-breaking while in uniform, combined with his misrepresentations of his service and his efforts to overthrow our democratic elections and violate the constitution he swore to protect make him wholly unfit for office.”

The Democrat is referencing how Majewski has been known to follow QAnon theories and was at the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, however, the Republican candidate has adamantly denied breaching the entrance.

It’s very clear that Majewski is a vet, but whether he was in combat is unknown to LaRose.

As a Green Beret, LaRose did maintain a top-secret clearance and went on classified missions.

But if Majewski had “admitted” to being a combat soldier in Afghanistan only under classified missions, wouldn’t that also be breaking that top-secret clearance? LaRose said he isn’t sure of the specifics of this case, but did answer the hypothetical.

“Simply saying that a thing is classified doesn’t necessarily constitute a breach unless you’re actually releasing the information that is classified,” he said. “If something is classified, then you, as someone who doesn’t have a clearance, will not know about it. But if it’s not, then you can. And it’s just that simple.”

OCJ reached out to his team for comment, but once OCJs Statehouse reporter Morgan Trau kept asking for more information regarding their anonymous source, their spokesperson stopped responding.

“It’s good that folks investigate this kind of thing,” LaRose said. “And, you know, the facts eventually come out.”

Follow WEWS statehouse reporter Morgan Trau on Twitter and Facebook.

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Morgan Trau
Morgan Trau

Morgan Trau is a political reporter and multimedia journalist based out of the WEWS Columbus Bureau. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Trau has previously worked as an investigative, political and fact-checking reporter in Grand Rapids, Mich. at WZZM-TV; a reporter and MMJ in Spokane, Wash. at KREM-TV and has interned at 60 Minutes and worked for CBS Interactive and PBS NewsHour.

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