A former Green Beret running for Congress in North Carolina is taking aim at President Biden’s handling of his duties as commander in chief while stressing the need for more veterans to be elected to higher office.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Pat Harrigan, a former U.S. Army officer, firearms business owner and Republican candidate for North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District, said Biden’s failures were one of the main things that drove him to enter the race.
“I’m incredibly concerned for the future of our country. With the fall of Afghanistan – being a West Point graduate and a former Green Beret who spent a little over 18 months in Afghanistan – I honestly could not believe how we could have a criminally incompetent chief executive lead the exit and lead the failure of Afghanistan the way that it happened,” Harrigan said.
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Former Special Forces officer Pat Harrigan is running for Congress in North Carolina as a Republican. (Pat Harrigan)
“It’s just absolutely catastrophic for America… We have to go to Washington and make some change and make it very quickly, or this world is going to devolve into a place that I don’t think any American has ever truly experienced,” he said.
Harrigan first ran unsuccessfully for Congress in North Carolina’s Democrat-leaning 14th Congressional District in 2022. After graduating from West Point and being commissioned as an Army officer in 2009, he joined the infantry and completed Ranger School before being assigned to a Special Forces unit at a small combat outpost in Afghanistan.
“I was in the Arghandab Valley up north of Kandahar, 23 years old. I was leading almost 400 Americans and Afghans all by myself. I had nobody over me for about 65 or 70 miles away, and so I really got to kind of create my own adventure, cut my teeth, during some pretty significant combat operations,” he explained.
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Harrigan said the experience gave him a “leadership perspective” to understand what’s at stake across the world, and why America’s strategic interests actually “secure the American way of life.”
President Biden speaks during an event at Earth Rider Brewery in Superior, Wisconsin, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024. (Nicole Neri/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“We’ve done a terrible job of doing that in the last 20 years. I think we can do it much, much better. And I think… that when America fails to lead, the world burns and, boy, the world is burning today,” he said.
“We just need principled leaders of character to return to Congress. We need veterans to return to Congress,” he said, noting the small percentage of veterans serving in Congress today and how it contrasts to the times following World War II when a majority of members had military experience.
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“If we don’t have veterans at the helm, if we just have more go along to get along, same old, same old lawyers, term career politicians who are just climbing the political ladder to the next level in Washington, D.C., we’re going to have the same old problems that we’ve always had,” he said.
During his time in the military, Harrigan opened a small firearms business that he ran out of his double-wide trailer home, first selling to just friends and family before it became popular and outgrew his family’s kitchen table.
If elected in November, Pat Harrigan said the first issue he would want to address is the crisis at the southern border. (Pat Harrigan)
“My last deployment to Afghanistan, my wife actually built a warehouse behind the double-wide, and by the time I got back, that warehouse was built, and we’d already grown out of it. So my wife was an intricate part of our ascent into the business world,” he said.
Harrigan explained that his business now operates out of a 120,000-square-foot facility on about 80 acres, does “everything underneath the small arms umbrella, from gun parts to complete firearms themselves,” and produces about 1,000 guns a week.
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He says operating a small business has made him “incredibly passionate” about American manufacturing, and that it’s important to have “vibrant” production in the U.S. He added that his own small business story was “a testament to the conditions that are set by the right frame of government, an economic system that allows people to go out and create their own success stories.”
If elected in November, Harrigan said the first issue he would want to address is the crisis at the southern border.
Pat Harrigan and his wife run a firearms manufacturing business. (Pat Harrigan)
“That southern border needs to close immediately. And I’ve been saying this for years: President Trump’s position on the border, which is to create a massive wall in order to safeguard our domestic security, should be our one and only priority. We have got to protect this nation,” he said.
“I think it’s very clear the American people need that border shutdown. We have 300,000 people a month coming across that border. We do not know who they are. We do not know what their intentions are. We know that we have dozens and dozens and dozens of folks on the terrorist watch list who have just walked across our leaky southern border, and that’s got to stop,” he added.
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Harrigan faces a crowded Republican primary field that includes state Rep. Grey Mills Jr., activist Brooke McGowan, entrepreneur Charles Eller and nurse Diana Jimison.
Considering the district’s conservative leaning, the primary winner will likely replace Rep. Patrick McHenry, who served briefly as speaker pro tempore of the House following House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ouster last October.
McHenry announced in December he would not seek re-election.
Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.