U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding President Obama's comment to Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang that Ho Chi Minh -- a dictator who butchered countless innocent civilians -- was inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and Thomas Jefferson. Said Ros-Lehtinen:
"My husband Dexter is a Vietnam combat veteran who was severely injured in battle while fighting for the ideals of Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Madison and Washington. For the President of the United States, who has sworn to preserve, protect and defend their ideals that founded this nation, to equate Ho Chi Minh to Thomas Jefferson is an insult to the service and sacrifice of all of those who served in Vietnam. Saying that a butcher who slaughtered his opponents and butchered those who resisted his tyranny was inspired by the ideals that make this nation the freest and most democratic country in the world belittles our Founding Fathers and those shed blood to protect their vision."
Note: Ho Chi Minh quoted the words of the Declaration of Independence in opposition to the French colonial power in Vietnam, in a speech in Ba Dinh Square, September 2, 1945, yet failed to live up to the spirit of those words. His vacuous words led to unspeakable atrocities committed against the people of Vietnam and innumerable deaths. Ho Chi Minh should be judged by his actions and not his words or who he claims was his inspiration.