Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) came under fire from veterans groups after he made political comments during a Memorial Day speech.
“It is not appropriate to use Memorial Day events to talk politics,” Veterans of Foreign Wars spokesman Joe Davis told the Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday.
During a Monday speech at a Memorial Day event in Wood Cross, Utah, Hatch brought up the Hobby Lobby case currently under consideration by the Supreme Court. The company sued to block the health care law’s contraception mandate.
“I hope the Supreme Court doesn’t screw that up is all I can say,” Hatch said about the case. “Because if they foul up the First Amendment again, we are going to have a constitutional amendment. And I believe I can put one on that everybody in this country, except the nuts, will support.”
Terry Schow, the former director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, echoed Davis’ comments that Hatch’s remarks weren’t entirely appropriate.
“At the end of the day, it’s to honor the war dead,” Schow told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Hatch apologized to those who were offended by his comments on Wednesday.
“I didn’t think I was political,” he told KUTV. “One thing I talked about is the Religious Freedom Act.”
Hatch said that he didn’t intend to talk politics during his speech and that he hopes his remarks didn’t ruin anybody’s holiday.
The senator’s spokesperson Matt Harakal lamented that the media highlighted Hatch’s political remarks when most of his speech honored veterans.
“It’s a real shame that The Salt Lake Tribune chose to cherry-pick a few comments out of context instead of accurately [reporting] on the full message of Senator Hatch’s speech, which was honoring American heroes and their families who have given so much for this country,” he said in a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune.