Several relatives of U.S. Marines killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul have expressed anger at President Joe Biden, with Facebook stepping in to censor a mother’s rant.
Biden traveled to Dover Air Force Base in his home state of Delaware on Sunday to pay tribute to the 13 killed US servicemen returning from Afghanistan in flag-draped coffins. However, the reception of some parents was hostile.
The meeting “it didn’t go well” Mark Schmitz, father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday. Biden “Spoke a little more about his own son than about my son, and that didn’t suit me” Schmitz added, referring to Biden’s well-known habit of raising his own deceased son while sympathizing with the families of deceased veterans.
Shana Chappell, the mother of the slain US Navy Kareem Nikoui, noticed the same. In a Facebook post, she described how she told Biden “don’t make fun of yourself” and complained that the president “rolled [his] fucking eyes “ as if he was “Angry with me”. Speaking to Biden, Chappell wrote that “The only reason I was talking to you was out of respect for my son … You are a weak human being and a traitor.”
Chappell posted similar posts to Instagram, resulting in the temporary suspension of his account, as well as his Facebook account. After an outcry from conservative experts and legislators, Chappell’s accounts were re-established, with Facebook telling the New York Post on Tuesday that the accounts were “Deleted in error”.
Biden drew flak for apparently checking his watch as the remains of the dead troops were flown from transport planes to Dover AFB on Sunday. “I actually leaned into my son’s mother’s ear and said ‘I swear to God if he checks his watch one more time …’ and [that] was probably only four times in, “ Schmitz told Hannity. “I couldn’t watch it after that, especially considering the time and why we were there. I found it to be the most disrespectful thing I have ever seen.
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Others refused to meet with the president. “We said absolutely no. We didn’t want to deal with him. We didn’t want him near us. As a family, we decided that was how it was going to be ”, Darin Hoover, father of the Marine Sergeant Major. Taylor Hoover told Hannity.
That a conservative talk show host like Hannity causes these family members to hit Biden is not surprising, but they’ve expressed their anger elsewhere as well. Schmitz told the same story to the Washington Post, while Jiennah McCollum, widow of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, told the newspaper she thought Biden’s words were superficial and showed “Complete disregard for the loss of our Navy – our brother, son, husband and father.”
Another family member present at the ceremony was less diplomatic. “I hope you burn in hell!” It was my brother! Schmitz recalled the grieving parent yelling at Biden in his Post interview.
The 13 servicemen were the last Americans to die in a 20-year war that claimed the lives of nearly 2,500 American soldiers and injured 20,000 more. Biden’s handling of the final Kabul evacuation – which saw the military withdraw before the civilians, only to return and attempt to coordinate the airlift with Taliban militants from a single airport with a single runway – has been criticized by critics from left and right.
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Psaki says death of 13 US soldiers does not ‘reflect all the PROGRESS’ in Kabul as Biden defends Afghan nightmare
The last US plane left Kabul shortly before midnight on Monday, minutes before the August 31 withdrawal deadline. Speaking to reporters a day earlier, White House press secretary Jen Psaki sparked further outrage when she said the deaths of the 13 soldiers “does not replace all the progress, all the work that has been done to evacuate people.”
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