John Warner’s “Garage Sale”

Who knew then-Senator John Warner (R- VA) visited the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit off the Coast of Liberia Aug. 28, 2003?

Well, anyone who found the plaque the 26th MEU presented to the now-retired Warner in a box with other forgotten military mementoes from Warner’s days on the Hill (now on the floor of an Alexandria, VA auction house) would know.

Though the cast-offs might lead one to think John Warner had passed away, Warner is very much alive. But he recently sold off items from his Senate office, many defense-related. The proceeds of the sale were slated for the already well- and publicly funded University of Virginia (UVA).

After rummaging through the forgotten box, we spoke to Potomack Company auction house owner and local antiques maven Elizabeth Weinstein who insisted the March 21, 2009, event (when the items were first put up for sale) was about Warner’s giving back. (To UVA?) But interviews with Warner before the auction reveal his concern was a lack of space.

Of course the senator cannot keep everything, but why unload the items in the town where you live surrounded by active and retired military? Why not store everything so that it can be sold post mortem? His mementoes were only valued at around $8,000, and judging from the items that sold in March the military lots brought in a few ducats for UVA where Mr. Warner is a law school alum chum.

It seems Warner did not let his military association impact his judgment. Though he is a veteran and a former Navy secretary and made much of his career off the backs of defense and veterans issues, we wonder why worthy military-associated organizations like the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society were not selected. Clearly, it is his choice.

John Warner, long seen by many as the champion of the armed forces, in many ways used the military to further a long, successful, and lucrative career. Despite decades of quid pro quo, discarding items presented by uniformed personnel may be a more accurate barometer of his true defense sentiments.

And the Navy just named a submarine after this guy.

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