Military veteran seeks Florida congressional seat to right the wrongs of Afghanistan pullout


When the story of the 2022 midterm elections is finally told, it could be that it motivated a generation of military veterans horrified by the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan to enter politics.

Enter Republican Cory Mills, a House candidate in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. Mills, 41, saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, serving the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division as a member of a special operations unit. Later, Mills went to work in the Defense Department under former President Donald Trump. In an interview with the Washington Examiner , Mills ticked off the usual list of partisan motivations behind his bid for Congress that is sure to excite GOP primary voters: President Joe Biden is failing as a leader; the liberal agenda propagated by the Democrats on Capitol Hill is damaging the United States — domestically and overseas.

“Right now, we’re running on an America last agenda,” said Mills, a recipient of the Bronze Star. “We’re prioritizing illegals over our military.”

“We’re seeing certain things, such as the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline while allowing Russia to build more pipelines,” he added. “These are things that I don’t believe in any way [constitute] an America first agenda.”


But Mills was particularly passionate when fielding questions about the chaotic U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Mills said he was horrified by the swift takeover by the Taliban and anguished over the Afghans left behind who assisted the American war effort during 20 years of conflict precipitated by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“I agree with the conditions-based agreement for withdrawal that President Trump had in place,” Mills said. “I was for the idea of withdrawing from Afghanistan.”

However, Mills said he does not support the concept of complete withdrawal. He worries the U.S. faces a new terrorist threat because there are no American forces in Afghanistan to prevent al Qaeda from reestablishing a foothold there from which to plan and launch attacks. Mills is doubly concerned about China filling the vacuum left by the American exit from the region and putting the U.S. on the defensive, geopolitically, in the competition for influence and power with a rising Beijing.

China made overtures to the Taliban and moved to establish a presence in Afghanistan from almost the moment the last American plane lifted off from the airport in Kabul.

“It would have been smart for us to leave a small counterterrorism force in place,” Mills said. “I don’t think we should have handed over Bagram [Air Force base] to the Chinese.”

Mills, a first-time candidate for public office, and his wife, Rana, run a Florida-based risk management firm they founded together that employs hundreds of people and advises law enforcement and other organizations. If Mills wins his Republican primary in late August of next year, next up would be Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy. Although redistricting could alter the boundaries of the 7th Congressional District, under the current lines, Mills would face an uphill climb. In 2020, Biden defeated Trump there by more than 10 percentage points.


If Mills ends up in Washington in 2023 as a member of Congress in a new Republican majority, he has not decided whether he would back House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California to become the next speaker of the House, even though at this point he could be the only Republican candidate running for the gavel. “It’s kind of a tricky question because we don’t know who’s going to be placing their hat in the ring,” Mills said.

“My focus is not about who’s going to be speaker and who’s not; my focus is on defeating Stephanie Murphy,” Mills said. “It’s about us taking back America, that’s my focus right now. How we deal with leadership … that’s further down the road.”

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Robert Butkiewicus

Though I thank you for your service. I question your ability to lay blame on one man when the Afghanistan fiasco was 29 years in the making


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