On Thursday, former President Donald Trump announced his endorsement of former Navy SEAL Senior Chief Derrick Van Orden in the race for Wisconsin’s 3rd congressional district. Van Orden famously appeared in the film “Act of Valor,” in which actual Navy SEALS portrayed a fictionalized SEAL team mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent and stop a terrorist attack.
“Derrick Van Orden is running for Congress in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District,” Trump said in an email statement shared with American Military News. “Derrick is a former Navy SEAL Senior Chief who bravely served and defended our Country. He strongly supports our Military, Veterans, Law Enforcement, and he will always fight for Secure Borders, the Second Amendment, and our incredible Farmers. Derrick has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
On Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Ron Kind announced he would not seek reelection for his seat as the rep. for Wisconsin’s 3rd congressional district, telling reporters that he’s “run out of gas.”
“I’m part of a dying breed in public service today in Washington and certainly in Madison — someone who tried to be reasonable, pragmatic, thoughtful, worked hard to try to find common ground with my colleagues, work in a bipartisan way to find bipartisan solutions for the challenges that we face,” Kind said, according to USA Today.
After Kind announced his plans to step down, Van Orden tweeted, “I would like to thank Kind for serving in Washington for the last 24 years, and I wish him the best in his retirement. Todays announcement indicative of what I hear every day as I travel the 3rd district: Wisconsinites want a change.”
“Our campaign has shown that the people of the 3rd are ready for a proven, tested Leader in Washington who will stand up to Nancy Pelosi’s radical agenda, and ensure that our children and grandchildren will live in a safe and prosperous nation,” Van Orden continued. “I will continue to work tirelessly to earn every vote, and am standing ready to represent that incredible people of Western Wisconsin.”
Van Orden challenged Kind during the 2020 election but lost to the incumbent by a three-percent margin. The Navy SEAL almost immediately announced he would run again in 2022, earning endorsements from top Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
The battleground state’s 3rd district has been trending more conservative in recent years after voting for Democrat Barack Obama in 2012. In both 2016 and 2020, the district voted for Republican Donald Trump.
“Wisconsin and America is ready for a change,” Van Orden said in a second tweet following Kind’s announcement. “We are done with @SpeakerPelosi and her radical socialist agenda.”
Kind’s decision to step down could challenge Democrat efforts to maintain control of the House of Representatives, which currently has a 220-212 Democrat majority.
“I know he’s one of the districts that the Republican Party is coming after because they know Donald Trump won in that district,” Jan Way, the co-chairwoman of the Portage County Democratic Party told USA Today. “I think they see it as an easy win and I hope they’re very wrong.”
Van Orden previously defended then-President Trump against attacks from former Commander of the Navy SEALS and former Admiral William McRaven.
When asked by Fox News host Brian Kilmeade if McRaven’s criticism of Trump is representative of the SEAL community, Van Orden responded, “Absolutely not.”
“No. Quite frankly: no,” he continued. “We have known for a long period of time that the former Admiral McRaven has had what we would term very liberal political views and that’s his right as an American citizens. We as SEALS really didn’t comment on it publicly because he’s never brought it to the forefront like he has now.”
“Insulting a sitting president of the United States is completely inappropriate for former senior military officer to do,” he added.
A video posted to YouTube also shows Van Orden featured in an intense scene from the film Act of Valor.