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Meeting the president of the United States has been both an honor and a sense of comfort throughout history for military families grappling with losing loved ones to the horrors of war.
That tradition seemingly came screeching to a halt in the past week as nearly half of the Gold Star parents who lost their loved ones in the Kabul suicide blast have publicly excoriated President Joe Biden for his role in their deaths.
Parents have said on television and print that Biden is at fault for the tragedy outside the gates of Kabul airport during the U.S. evacuation. Their anger has been fueled by several Biden gaffes, such as repeatedly checking his watch when caskets were unloaded at Dover Air Force Base and frequently mentioning his late soldier son Beau in an ill-conceived attempt to relate to their grief.
President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, behind Biden, and others attend a casualty return as a carry team finishes placing a transfer case containing the remains of Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Neb., into a transfer vehicle Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Daegan died in an attack at Afghanistan's Kabul airport, along with 12 other U.S. service members. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Carolyn Kaster/AP
“To have them come out in this regard is unparalleled, and the complete lack of decorum shown in the Biden administration in this solemn event from checking his watch to making a speech about his son and his loss is unacceptable,” said decorated retired Green Beret Jay Collins, who is running for Congress in Florida. “At every opportunity given, he continued to do the wrong thing.”
Collins was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11, later losing his leg in a firefight. He served five more years with a prosthetic. Despite this, Collins recalled his excitement when meeting President George W. Bush at Ft. Bragg when the former commander in chief stopped by to thank the troops.
“I couldn’t believe it … It was W!” Collins said. “It was a complete honor. President Bush had everyone’s respect. [Soldiers] knew he believed in them and was willing to stand up for them and have their interests at heart.”
But when it came time to meet Biden at Dover, members from two Gold Star families skipped the occasion.
This combination of photos released by the 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton/U.S. Department of Defense shows twelve service members killed in the Kabul airport bombing in Afghanistan on Aug. 26, 2021. Top Row, from left: Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, Calif., Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, Calif., Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah, Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Massachusetts. Bottom Row, from left: Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana, Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas, Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri, Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyo., Navy Corpsman, Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio and Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tennessee. Not pictured is Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Roseville, Calif., was also killed. (1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton/U.S. Department of Defense via AP) AP
“We said, 'Absolutely not.' We did not want to deal with him. We did not want him anywhere near us,” Darin Hoover, father of Staff Sgt. Darin Hoover Jr., told Sean Hannity on Fox News.
Hoover felt disrespected to see Biden looking at his watch.
“That happened on every single one that came out of that airplane,” Hoover said. “They would release the salute, and he would look down at his watch on every one. All 13.”
Roice McCollum told the Washington Post her entire family, except for the wife of Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, refused to meet with Biden at Dover.
"You can't f*** up as bad as he did and say you're sorry," she said. "This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands."
The two most vocal parents have been Mark Schmitz, father of Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz and Shana Chappell, mother of Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui.
Schmitz did several TV interviews, including one on Newsmax, saying he forced Biden to look at a photo of his son.
“I expressed my frustrations with the president to the extent of, mainly I wanted him to look at my son’s picture, the final photo taken the day of his death,” Schmitz said. “I said, 'Jared Schmitz, don’t forget that name. And don’t forget that face, and don’t forget the names and faces of the other 12, and make sure you spend some time learning their stories.' And he said he knew their stories, which it didn’t sit well with me.”
In lengthy emotional posts on Facebook, Campbell cursed at Biden and relayed her traumatic experience meeting the commander in chief.
As she relayed her pain, she accused Biden of “roll[ing] your f***ing eyes in your head like you were annoyed with me….i then proceeded to tell you again how you took my son away from me and how i will never get to hug him, kiss him, laugh with him again etc… u turned to walk away and i let you know my sons blood was on your hands and you threw your hand up behind you as you walked away from me," she wrote.
On Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show, Paula Knauss, mother of slain Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, said she has no confirmation that anyone has taken responsibility for the deaths.
“It should never have happened the way it did. Who is accountable for this?” she said. “Who will stand up and say they will be accountable for 13 men and women? Who? Who will stand up and say I am the one who is responsible? I would like to know that.”
Ryan Knauss’s final words to his mother were, “Mom, I’ve been trained. I’ll be in, and I’ll be out in no time. It’s going to be a s***show. You just watch.”
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Original Author: Tori Richards