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Republican Walter Jones, N.C. Republican, who sharply rejected the Iraq war, dies at the age of 76



But it was his radical reversal of his support for Bush's war in Iraq, for which Jones was most famous, a turning point that marked the beginning of a period outside the House Republican mainstream.

Jones first supported the 2002 war – even going so far as to convince the cafeterias of the house to rename French fries Freedom Fries to protest France's opposition to the US-led war.

"This is a real tribute," he said. "Whenever someone orders Freedom Fries, I think he will think about our men and women serving in this great nation."

But he regretted the vote soon, he told The Associated Press in 201

7. After attending the funeral, Marine Sgt. Michael Bitz wrote an apologetic letter to Bitz's family in 2003. And he continued to write such letters – more than 11,000 to relatives of dead US servants in the following years.

When Jones wrote this first letter, "many emotions ran through my mind, and I still bear their grief today for voting for an unnecessary war," he told The University of North Carolina student newspaper The November, 2017 Daily Tar Heel.

Jones told the newspaper that he also regularly visited wounded service staff at Walter Reed National's Maryland Military Medical Center "to be reminded that war is hell – people are dying, people are being wounded."

Jones was a Conservative Democrat when he became the first successor of his father, representing the 3rd Ward in 1992. In 1994, he joined the Republican Party and was elected as part of the so-called Republican Revolution, led by Rep. Newt Gingrich. Ga.

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But Jones's opposition to the post-2003 war underscored his growing alienation from some of his party's elements. Jones voted with the party 81 percent of the time across his entire congressional career – but only about 60 percent of the time after Trump was sworn in January 2017.

He then turned to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. The Chairman of the News Committee, to turn away from the committee's investigation into alleged Russian influence in the 2016 elections, argued that Nunes was too close to Trump ,

He has resisted since Trump took office consistently US military action overseas criticism of US-led operations in Afghanistan and Syria.

Colleagues recalled on Sunday Jones as a principled man who championed his beliefs, even if they were unpopular.

"He was an official who remained true to his beliefs and who will be missed," said Republican North Carolina governor Roy Cooper in a statement.

Sen. Thom Tillis, RN.C., said, "He always did what he felt was right for his constituents, his district, and his country, and it was no wonder why he was so widely admired and trustworthy."


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