Let me preface this by saying that I know many people will accuse me of “sour grapes,” having lost the Democratic primary. While that might be partially true, there are greater issues at hand — issues that ultimately led me to leave the party and become unaffiliated. Among those issues is the fact that many Democrats, including some party leaders in the district, insisted that we agree not to do “negative campaigning.”
For this reason, I was urged not to bring out any of the following concerns about Moe Davis in the primary. … Now, however, I am just a citizen and a voter who wants people to be informed about their choices in November. …
Moe Davis has repeatedly told people to “look at his record.” Let’s do just that. I should note that I offered Mr. Davis several opportunities to clear up these issues with me in order to gain my support, and he refused to respond. … While I had every intention of supporting the Democratic nominee, I could not in good conscience endorse anyone who knowingly misleads the voters; as a veteran myself, this is especially disappointing coming from another veteran who claims integrity as a qualification.
He continues to mislead the voters regarding his military service, claiming to have “resigned” from his position at Guantánamo. However, this is not the case. When one resigns in the military, it requires a letter of resignation stating the reason for resigning and any supporting documentation submitted to one’s commander. If the resignation is approved, an honorable discharge or a general discharge under honorable conditions will be processed. This is not the same as “requesting reassignment.” If someone says they resigned but then retired a year later, they are simply not telling the truth. In fact, in an interview with Columbia University in 2012 [avl.mx/8ma], he stated, “A lot of people think I retired from the military in 2008 because of Guantánamo,” but the collapse of the housing market was really the primary factor.
He also stated that his medal from Guantánamo was disapproved because he was told “your service was not honorable during the time you were chief prosecutor. … You put your personal interests ahead of the mission.”
After reassignment, he wrote an op-ed in 2008 claiming “unforgivable behavior” at the Guantánamo prison. Only eight months earlier, he wrote an op-ed praising the “professionalism of its staff and the humanity of its detention centers.” Both articles can be found here: [avl.mx/8mb and avl.mx/8mc].
The contradictions do not end there. During the primary, he claimed to have joined the Air Force as a tribute to [his] dad. However, in the interview with Columbia in 2012, he stated, “just on a whim, I applied to the Air Force. I can’t say it was a lifelong dream to be in the Air Force, but my brother had served in the Air Force, and I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do, so I thought, what the heck, I’ll apply.” In this same interview, he was challenged on his claim of resignation and was forced to admit he requested reassignment.
He also claimed that he moved to Asheville to retire and drink beer, and then the district changed, and [he] saw an opportunity. The truth is that he was stating on Twitter … before moving to North Carolina that he was coming here to beat Mark Meadows. …
Set aside his clear lack of understanding of the issues facing Western North Carolina, his Trumplike inflammatory tweets and his statement that a House member has little if any impact on [the issue of whether we overturn] Roe vs. Wade, it has never been more evident that we need representatives that we can trust. Sadly, upon reviewing his record, Moe Davis clearly does not meet that criterion.
— Steve Woodsmall
Editor’s note: Xpress contacted Col. Moe Davis about Woodsmall’s points, and we received the following response: “I’m disappointed that Mountain Xpress is inserting itself into a pending election by publishing these allegations that are literally and legally false.
“Maj. Woodsmall has no direct knowledge of the circumstances surrounding my departure as chief prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay; his comments are mere conjecture, and it is inexplicable that this publication would amplify those uninformed opinions at this time. Attached is a copy of my Oct. 4, 2007, memorandum to Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England. Note the subject line reads ‘Resignation as Chief Prosecutor for Military Commissions.’ Here is a link [avl.mx/8n2] to a New York Times story reporting my resignation at the time.
“Maj. Woodsmall writes that I was accused of putting my personal interests above the mission. That was never my view. I put the rule of law first. I’m proud of my stance against the use of evidence obtained through torture because it was the right thing to do. History has proven I was right to refuse an order that was immoral and illegal. I received the Legion of Merit from three-star Gen. Jack Rives in 2008, one of the highest honors in the military, after I left as chief prosecutor. …
“Maj. Woodsmall is deliberately misleading readers when he writes that, ‘he wrote an op-ed in 2008 claiming ‘unforgivable behavior’ at the Guantánamo prison’ that is inconsistent with the op-ed I wrote in 2007 about conditions at Guantánamo. The 2008 op-ed was about waterboarding. To the best of my knowledge, no one was ever waterboarded at Guantánamo, but some were waterboarded while they were held in CIA black sites before they were transferred to Guantánamo. There is nothing inconsistent in the two op-eds.
“As to my decision to join the Air Force, I had applied for several jobs and was uncertain of my path after law school. Yes, the application was made on a whim. The decision to join the Air Force was not. It was made when my father passed away suddenly shortly after I passed the bar exam.
“The property I bought in Asheville in 2018 was (and still is) in the 10th Congressional District. I never had any plans to move to the 10th District and run for Congress in the 11th District. My decision to run came when state courts ruled that the lines had to be redrawn and Asheville and Buncombe County were reunited in the 11th District.
“In the 11 months that I have been campaigning, I have discussed health care in Western North Carolina with medical professionals. I’ve talked with broadband internet experts and reached out to superintendents, teachers and students to discuss education. I’ve met with sheriffs, firefighters, police and first responders; religious leaders; mayors and city council members and other local government leaders; millennials and seniors; environmentalists and business leaders. I’ve held virtual town halls for months, answering hundreds of questions from voters. I’ve made sure I am prepared to represent the 11th District in Congress on Day One.
“Maj. Woodsmall lost in the 2018 primary and proceeded to undermine Democratic nominee Phillip Price in the general election. He finished last in the 2020 primary and is now working to undermine my campaign. Sadly, his letter to the editor says a whole lot more about Maj. Woodsmall than it says about me.”