Tulsi Gabbard Defends Marine Corps Vet Daniel Penny: Protector Mindset Isn't Tossed Aside When Uniform Is Taken Off


A former Democratic lawmaker is coming to the defense of Daniel Penny in the midst of his legal troubles.

Penny is the Marine Corps veteran who put Jordan Neely in a chokehold on the New York City subway after the mentally disturbed homeless man allegedly behaved in a threatening manner toward other passengers. Neely died in the May 1 incident.

Despite witness accounts about Neely’s behavior, protesters in the city demanded Penny be held accountable, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office filed a second-degree manslaughter charge against him on May 11.

Although many in the establishment media and on the political left are calling for his head, many others have come to Penny’s defense.

One such person is Tulsi Gabbard, the former congresswoman from Hawaii who unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020 and left the party last year as it lurched further and further to the left.

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During an appearance Monday on Fox News’ “The Five,” Gabbard said that she could relate to Penny, as, like him, she is also a military veteran who understands the commitment that people like him make to protect and serve our nation.

Gabbard also said, however, the commitment and mindset of protecting and serving the American people is not something that only applies when wearing a uniform, and that it is a part of the life of all servicemen and women.

“He’s speaking very clearly about what’s in his heart,” she said, “and I think there’s a lot of people out there who can relate to him in the same way that I do, that we’re part of a generation of people who saw the attacks on 9/11 and were inspired to step up and commit to serve and protect.

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“And for those like Penny who have this protector mindset, it’s not something you just toss aside maybe when you take the uniform off. It’s something that’s a part of who you are.”

Gabbard, an Army Reserve officer, went on to say such a mindset dictates that whenever you see someone who is in danger, the instinct is to step up and protect them from harm, which is exactly what Penny did on the subway.

Her take on this is absolutely correct. It is the duty of the members of the armed forces and our law enforcement to protect and defend the American people from all threats to their security, internal and external.

That calling applies not only to when you are on duty and in a uniform but also when you are off duty and see someone in danger.

Despite media portrayals, Penny is not some sort of thug who senselessly attacked Neely in an attempt to kill him. Rather, he was a good Samaritan who saw his fellow passengers in danger and took action to protect him.

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This is exactly what any Marine should do: living up to his oath to defend the American people.

There was nothing ill in Penny’s heart. He was simply doing what he was trained to do to try to protect others.

It is a shame he is now being prosecuted for his actions, while Neely — who had been arrested more than 40 times for assault and other crimes — is being venerated as some sort of martyr.

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Peter Partoll is a commentary writer for the Western Journal and a Research Assistant for the Catholic Herald. He earned his bachelor's degree at Hillsdale College and recently finished up his masters degree at Royal Holloway University of London. You can follow him on Twitter at @p_partoll.