The Associated Press reported that it obtained military documents indicating that Ohio Republican House nominee J.R. Majewski “never deployed to Afghanistan,” as he’s previously claimed. Following that report, Media Matters examined Majewski’s media appearances — including his time as a right-wing commentator — and found that he repeatedly told stories of being in Afghanistan.
Majewski is a former right-wing streamer who hosted the show Earcandy. He also pushed right-wing commentaries through his Periscope account. Majewski is a QAnon supporter and January 6 insurrectionist.
Media Matters has documented that he has connections to toxic right-wing media personalities, including antisemitic Gab CEO Andrew Torba; the January 6 insurrectionist group Long Island Loud Majority; election denying outlet One America News; and QAnon influencer RedPill78, among others.
The AP's Brian Slodysko and James LaPorta reported on September 21:
Majewski presents himself as an Air Force combat veteran who deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, once describing “tough” conditions including a lack of running water that forced him to go more than 40 days without a shower.
Military documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request tell a different story.
They indicate Majewski never deployed to Afghanistan but instead completed a six-month stint helping to load planes at an air base in Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally that is a safe distance from the fighting.
The article noted that Republicans have touted him as an Afghanistan veteran and he described himself as one, including during a 2021 podcast interview.
More recently, the House Republican campaign committee released a biography that describes Majewski as a veteran whose “squadron was one of the first on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11.” A campaign ad posted online Tuesday by Majewski supporters flashed the words “Afghanistan War Veteran” across the screen alongside a picture of a younger Majewski in his dress uniform.
A biography posted on his campaign website does not mention Afghanistan, but in an August 2021 tweet criticizing the U.S. withdraw from the country, Majewski said he would “gladly suit up and go back to Afghanistan.”
He’s been far less forthcoming when asked about the specifics of his service.
“I don’t like talking about my military experience,” he said in a 2021 interview on the One American Podcast after volunteering that he served one tour of duty in Afghanistan. “It was a tough time in life. You know, the military wasn’t easy.”
The following is video of Majewski on the August 28, 2021, edition of One American Podcast that was mentioned by the AP:
Media Matters found six other instances of Majewski claiming he was in Afghanistan while appearing in the media.
Agreeing that his opponent is a “scumbag” for “running smear ads against an Afghanistan veteran”
On July 20, Majewski was a guest on In The Trenches with Teddy Daniels. During that program, Majewski said he was in Afghanistan, to which host Teddy Daniels said of opponent Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH): “She's running smear ads against an Afghanistan veteran.”
“That sounds like a scumbag to me,” Daniels added. “She's a scumbag.”
Recalling the “buddy of mine” who Majewski spent “months in Afghanistan with”
In a 2020 Periscope video that Media Matters downloaded before it was apparently removed, Majewski was asked by a viewer what he did in the service. He responded, “I'd like to keep that to myself there, Brian. No offense or anything, but it's not something I talk about publicly. And, again, I mean no offense whatsoever. I'd just like to keep — I like to keep some of my cards, if you know what I mean.”
Majewski then told the story of an alleged “buddy of mine that I haven't seen in forever,” claiming to have “spent some months in Afghanistan with him, all over the place with him,” and supposedly got him to reconsider his views politically.
“He's of a demographic that you would think normally would vote for the Democratic Party,” Majewski added. “And from watching what I'm doing and seeing what I'm doing and just knowing me as a person and having, you know, been to the dirt with me. I think it gave him pause because it was surprising to see, for him to see me so hyped up about Donald Trump when he hears nothing but negative stuff about him, even being a serviceman.”
Fighting to play Grand Theft Auto amid power shortages in Afghanistan
In the January 26, 2021, edition of his Earcandy show, Majewski told the story of how “I remember being in the desert, man, being in Afghanistan” and fighting with other people to play Grand Theft Auto because they “only had power for like, you know, 30 minutes a day that we could use — this was when we first got there.”
Missing his grandmother’s funeral while deployed “in the desert” of Afghanistan
Majewkski also told this story about the time “when I was in Afghanistan” during a February 27, 2021, appearance on the QAnon podcast Red Pill News:
“I served over in Afghanistan”
Majewski appeared on the April 25 edition of Newsmax's Greg Kelly Reports and said: “I spent four years in the Air Force. I served over in Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom.” He then talked about work he says he did in the nuclear energy sector, saying, “There's not a member in Congress that knows energy like me.”
Toward the conclusion of the segment, Kelly said: “I think you're the kind of guy that the Founding Fathers had in mind. Seriously, not a career politician, and you’ve got real expertise in something.” He then helped Majewski promote his website. Following the interview, Majewski promoted the segment on his Facebook page.
He also used the segment as a Facebook ad, spending an estimated $1,000 to $1,500.
On his September 16 show, Kelly praised Majewski by stating: “You’ve got a very unique specialty -- by the way, J.R. is an Air Force veteran. He deployed overseas to Afghanistan. But you know a lot about nuclear security.” Majewski didn’t correct him, and he looked down after Kelly mentioned Afghanistan.
Majewski subsequently promoted the interview.
“I was in Afghanistan”
Majewski appeared on the May 26, 2022, edition of Ohio-based podcast High Heels and Politics, where he was asked about his military background by host Mary Anne Christie.
“I was in Afghanistan. Yeah. Yeah. It was, you know, the military, I can say, was some of the — it was probably the toughest four years of my life.”
This article has been updated with additional examples.