Gold Star dads blast Biden for checking watch during ceremony for fallen
The fathers of two US Marines killed in last week’s suicide terror attack at the Kabul airport slammed President Joe Biden Monday, accusing the commander-in-chief of repeatedly looking at his watch during the dignified transfer ceremony over the weekend.
Darin Hoover, the father of Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Biden checked the time every single time a flag-draped coffin was removed from the hold of the Air Force C-17 Globemaster plane during Sunday’s ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in the president’s home state of Delaware.
“They would release the salute and he looked down at his watch on every last one,” Hoover said. “All 13, he looked down at his watch.”
Mark Schmitz — whose 20-year-old son, Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, died in the attack — corroborated Hoover’s story.
“I actually leaned into my son’s mother’s ear and I said, ‘I swear to God, if he checks his watch one more time …’,” Schmitz recalled, “and that was only probably four times in. I couldn’t look at him anymore after that, just considering, especially, the time and why we were there. I found it to be the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen.”
Schmitz added that his family’s meeting with Biden prior to the ceremony “didn’t go well.”
“He talked a bit more about his own son [Beau Biden] then he did my son,” Schmitz said, “and that didn’t sit well with me.”
Hoover said he and his family declined to meet with Biden.
“We said, ‘Absolutely not.’ We didn’t want to deal with him,” he said. “We didn’t want – we didn’t want him anywhere near us. We as a family decided that was the way it was going to be.”
The Aug. 26 attack outside the Abbey Gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport killed 13 US service members — 11 Marines, a Navy corpsman and an Army soldier — and 169 Afghans. It was one of the final catastrophes visited upon the effort to evacuate Americans and their allies from Afghanistan — which concluded Monday with hundreds of Americans being left behind, along with thousands of Afghans who aided US-led forces during their two-decade military operation in that country.
Some family members of the fallen have criticized Biden in the days since the attack. Steve Nikoui told The Daily Beast that the president had “turned his back” on Nikoui’s son Kareem, another Marine who died at the airport.
On the same day, Schmitz told St. Louis radio station KMOX to “be afraid of our leadership, or lack thereof. Pray every day for the soldiers that are putting their lives at risk and doing what they love, which is protecting all of us. I think they’re the only ones that we can honestly say have our backs.”
The family of 20-year-old Marine Rylee McCollum expressed the most anger toward the president, with his mother Kathy calling Biden “a dementia-ridden piece of crap who doesn’t even know he’s in the White House” in a radio interview. Meanwhile, McCollum’s sister Roice claimed the president showed “total disregard to the loss of our Marine” when he spoke with the family at Dover.
“You can’t f— up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry,” Roice told The Washington Post. “This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands, the thousands of Afghans who will suffer and be tortured is a direct result of his incompetence.” Roice McCollum added that Biden checked his watch while speaking with her brother’s widow.
At the White House Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Biden “was grateful to be there with the families yesterday and to honor both the heroic service and the incredible sacrifice of their sons and daughters.”
“While his son did not lose his life directly in combat, as they did, or directly at the hands of a terrorist … he knows … firsthand that there’s nothing you can say, nothing you can convey to ease the pain and to ease what all these families are going through,” Psaki added. “But he was honored to be there yesterday and to be able to spend some time with the families.”