U.S. Senate candidate Michael Durant spoke to the Pike County Republican Women on Wednesday about his military background and his plans if elected.
He did not discuss his 1994 television interview in which he publicly criticized his sister’s civil lawsuit against their father for alleged sexual abuse.
APR brought a 1994 Associated Press article to light last week detailing Durant’s defense of his father, despite writing letters to his sister, Mary, in 1991 detailing his father’s confession of the incest.
A spokesperson declined to allow members of the press to question Durant, citing that Durant had to leave for an engagement in Montgomery.
Durant did accept questions from members of the Pike County Republican Women after his speech, although all questions were submitted in writing. He did not answer all questions submitted and not all questions were read aloud.
However, out of the questions that were read, none were about the AP story regarding his sister’s allegations.
Shirley Reddoch, newly installed president of the Pike County Republican Women, said she doesn’t believe the issue is pertinent to Durant’s candidacy for Senate.
“As a child, my father taught us you either have bad things in your closet or your family does, it really doesn’t matter,” Reddoch said. “You can always find something wrong with every candidate.”
Reddoch said the party doesn’t back individual candidates, the members are free to support the candidate of their choosing. But she said she had not heard concerns from other Republican women about Durant’s actions.
Durant instead focused on his military background and how his experiences as a veteran and business owner would influence his voting if elected to the Senate.
“One of the things that concerns me is people don’t know what they’re talking about,” Durant said. “They’re talking tough about China … Nobody with any common sense wants full-scale conflict with a country like China.”
When asked about the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Durant chided President Joe Biden for his actions.
“Biden is 100% responsible for travesty that occurred last year,” Durant said. “For a soundbite, all Joe Biden wanted to do was say ‘I ended America’s longest war before the anniversary of 9/11.’ He didn’t care what else happened.”
Durant challenged that Afghanistan was a “tremendous military success” with U.S. forces keeping terrorism in check and giving the country some form of stability, and that the withdrawal of troops completely wiped out the progress that had been made.
Durant also said “taxes are out of control” and told members that as the leader of a corporation he had paid “millions in taxes.”
“I don’t know why (Biden) seems to think people like me don’t pay taxes,” Durant said. “I’ve paid millions and millions and millions in taxes. Where we need to cut spending is on social programs that don’t help anyone. We’ve tried to raise people up out of poverty for 40 years … we’re chasing the wrong rabbits.”
He said the real need is to find ways to get people back to work.
Durant emphasized that he has signed a pledge to limit himself to two terms in Senate if elected, a pledge that fellow candidate Mo Brooks has also signed.
“I want to go in, make a difference and get out,” Durant said.
Durant will be on the Republican primary ballot on May 24.