Lt. Adam Schwarze dedicated his life to the U.S. military, serving in nine deployments and 70 countries throughout his 20-year career. But military leaders did not serve him well when he adopted a new mission to run for office, he said.
Schwarze was born in Minnesota and raised on family values. He entered the military after he graduated high school, becoming a Marine in 2002 and eventually a Navy SEAL.
“I was really just honored to be American and go around the world and do these great things on behalf of our country,” Schwarze told Liz Collin this week on her podcast. He understood gratitude and wanted to spread his American values to other parts of the world.
Schwarze worked with the Department of State for several years, which opened his eyes to America’s foreign policy. He moved up through the ranks and was selected for a Naval Special Element team, which positioned him in Hawaii from 2016 until COVID-19 hit in 2020.
On April 9, 2020, that first spring of COVID, his residence at his station in Hawaii lost power. He was approved by the military to travel to a neighboring island, Kauai, to stay in the meantime.
When he and his girlfriend arrived on Kauai, they were immediately stopped by officers, who assumed they were tourists — tourism was at a halt at this point, and Kauai had policies in place that “just didn’t make sense,” Schwarze said. They were told they need to quarantine for 14 days and directed to immediately go to their rental home, according to news reports.
“[There were] draconian policies in place. We gotta call a spade a spade. I never got into politics, I don’t even think politically, but that was all the Democrats. It was Democrats who ruled every part of government in Hawaii,” Schwarze said.
After explaining their military status and approval for their trip, and their simple need to get groceries, Schwarze and his girlfriend were told they were not allowed in grocery stores. Having no other choice, they went to a grocery store across from their rental home and were apprehended by multiple cops upon leaving the store.
“The problem was that the [local] prosecutor was running for office as a Democrat. And he released our mugshots and put this fake story out to the press,” Schwarze explained.
The prosecutor made sure the public thought Schwarze and his girlfriend were tourists who were putting everyone on the island in danger, he said.
“It’s kind of ironic and sad that I spent my whole life as, really, a model citizen trying to defend and support America, to be then stabbed in the back by government.”
His career was “essentially ruined” after that incident.
This was 18 years into his military career, and he was beginning to see corruption from the inside, he said.
Schwarze was cleared of the charges, but he decided he wanted out and planned to run for Congress in Minnesota’s Third Congressional District.
He sought permission from the Navy to run for political office last year while serving his final few months. His request was approved by the chief of naval operations but was denied by Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro. Schwarze then applied for early retirement, which was endorsed by the commander of naval personnel but denied by Del Toro’s office.
Schwarze was then directed to return to his SEAL unit in Hawaii three days before he was supposed to get his final papers of retirement, he said. Once there, he was subjected to a trial in which the military fabricated several statements about Schwarze’s time in the military, even claiming that he was never in combat or deployed, he explained.
The Navy “overplayed their hand,” Schwarze said. They hoped the officers they chose as jurors would throw him under the bus, which they did not do. He said he was following the process that other candidates had before him.
They also took his Navy SEAL Trident without reason, which was unprecedented, Schwarze said.
It was a “complete sham” to “discredit” his career and reputation so he couldn’t run for office, Schwarze explained.
“I never was able to get out and run for office because of very, very concerted political corruption, meddling, oppression … this is all documented,” he said.
U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota stepped in to advocate for Schwarze, calling the case “a horrible vignette of how the Navy, I think, far too often treats its people” and a “witch hunt.”
“You went after this decorated hero with a veracity that made my staff, including a commander in the military, reach out to him to check his well-being and reach out to the Navy to make sure that they were looking out for his well-being,” Cramer said during a Senate Armed Services hearing last month.
Schwarze said his desire to run for office was influenced by the 2020 riots following the death of George Floyd.
“We had a police precinct that’s, you know, essentially a U.S. base on U.S. soil that was just given up to the masses to be burned to the ground,” he said.
The “lunacy” of how close Minneapolis came to defunding the police is “really just emblematic of the lack of leaders in our government,” Schwarze commented.
Schwarze has been out of the military since March 1. He founded a nonprofit called Defending Freedom and Democracy to help “common-sense leaders” get into politics.