Rep. Salmon: Obama 'Hasn't Lifted a Finger' to Help U.S. Marine in Mexico Jail

By Penny Starr | June 11, 2014 | 2:41 PM EDT

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) spoke atthe Heritage Foundation'sConversations with Conservativeson June 10, 2014 in Washington,D.C. ( Starr)

( – Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) said on Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s claim that no members of the U.S. military are “left behind” does not seem to hold true for Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, the Marine arrested by Mexican authorities on April 1 on weapons charges.

When asked about the exchange of Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban terrorists at a Heritage Foundation event on Capitol Hill, Salmon recalled attending a classified briefing given to House members by Obama administration officials.

“Time and time again the comment was made that we leave no soldier behind and then the other comment was under Article 2 of the Constitution, the president has the responsibility for the troops and a responsibility to protect all Americans abroad,” Salmon said. “And given that, I’m just wondering why the president hasn’t lifted a finger at all to help Sgt. Tahmooressi, who’s in prison in Mexico – has been for two months.”

“And he needs to be home,” said Salmon, who has visited Tahmooressi.

Tahmooressi, 25, who moved to California from Florida to get treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), has said he accidentally crossed the U.S. border into Mexico.

Salmon said there is no controversy about Tahmooressi’s service to this country.

Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi supporter (AP Photo)

“He’s an American hero,” Salmon said. “Served two tours in Afghanistan and was promoted in field for his activities and his valor.

“And if President Obama would engage just a sliver of the effort that he used on this other one, I believe that he would be able to get our young Marine home, who deserves to be home and be treated for his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Salmon said.  “I’m calling on the president, again, to do something.”

When Obama announced on May 31 in the White House Rose Garden that Bowe Bergdahl had been traded from five Guantanamo prisoners, the president said – and many administration officials have since repeated – that the U.S. does not abandon its service men and women.

“[Bergdahl] wasn’t forgotten by his community in Idaho, or the military, which rallied to support the Bergdahls through thick and thin,” Obama said. “And he wasn’t forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.”

The White House has made no official statement about Tahmooressi, and at a press briefing at the U.S. State Department, an Obama administration official said the case was a “concern.”

“Well, it’s an issue of huge concern, which is why we’ve raised it so many times with the government,” Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman said at a May 30 press briefing when she was asked about the case by a reporter.

“He’s been charged with possessing firearms and ammunition, which is in violation of Mexican law,” Psaki said. “We have been attending his court hearings, will continue to provide every applicable consular service.

“But obviously, we are concerned about the case, which is why we have raised it,” Psaki said.

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