The father of a Marine killed in the Kabul attack says Biden bristled when he told the president to learn the victims' stories

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden at the dignified transfer of the remains of fallen service members at Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
  • A man whose son was killed in Afghanistan last week described a testy encounter with Joe Biden.

  • "Learn their stories," Mark Schmitz recalled telling Biden of those killed, per The Washington Post.

  • Thirteen US service members were among more than 100 people killed in the attack.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The father of a US Marine who was killed in the attack last week at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, said he challenged President Joe Biden to "learn the stories" of the victims at the ceremony where the remains of service members were returned to the US.

Mark Schmitz's son, 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, was one of 13 US service members helping to evacuate US citizens and Afghans killed on August 27 in what the Pentagon has said was a suicide bombing by an ISIS affiliate.

The attack killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US service members.

On Sunday, the remains of the service members were returned to the US in a ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, which Biden attended.

Afterward, Biden met with the grieving families in private, including Schmitz.

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He told The Washington Post that he initially decided he didn't want to talk to Biden, whose handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal he has blamed for his son's death, but then changed his mind.

Schmitz said Biden spoke of losing his son Beau Biden, an Iraq veteran, to cancer six years ago. But Schmitz said that he wanted to talk about Jared instead and that he and his wife took out a photo of their son to show the president.

"I said: 'Don't you ever forget that name. Don't you ever forget that face. Don't you ever forget the names of the other 12,'" Schmitz told The Post. "'And take some time to learn their stories.'"

But according to Schmitz, the president didn't like that and bristled, replying: "I do know their stories."

Schmitz also relayed details of the encounter with Biden in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity on Monday night.

"It didn't go well," Schmitz said. "He talked a bit more about his own son then he did my son, and that didn't sit well with me."

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Biden has said his personal familiarity with tragedy - having lost his first wife and his daughter in a car crash in 1972 and his adult son to cancer decades later - allows him to understand the pain of those grieving the loss of loved ones from the COVID-19 pandemic or in war.

But he has received widespread criticism for his handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which allowed the Taliban to quickly retake power.

Thousands of people clamored to escape the country on flights from Kabul, where the US was left to rely largely on a security perimeter set up around the airport by the Taliban to screen against terrorist attacks.

In an interview with The Daily Beast last week, Steve Nikoui, the father of a US Marine, Kareem Nikoui, who was also killed in last week's attack, expressed anger at Biden.

"They sent my son over there as a paper pusher and then had the Taliban outside providing security," Nikoui said. "I blame my own military leaders."

"Biden turned his back on him," he added. "That's it."

Read the original article on Business Insider