OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Fallout for President Joe Biden following the death of 13 U.S. military personnel Thursday amid a chaotic, disorganized, and ultimately disastrous pullout from Afghanistan continued Sunday as grieving Gold Star families met with him at Dover Air Force Base.
After meeting with the families and as he was leaving the base, Mark Schmitz, the father of 20-year-old Jared Schmitz, one of the 11 Marines killed in the suicide bombing near a checkpoint leading onto the international airport at Kabul, told the Washington Post that as families were getting on a bus to leave a distraught woman yelled in Biden’s direction, “I hope you burn in hell! That was my brother!”
As for Schmitz, he was also critical of his meeting with Biden, who appeared to try to make it more about him than the grieving families.
“When he just kept talking about his son so much it was just — my interest was lost in that. I was more focused on my own son than what happened with him and his son. I’m not trying to insult the president, but it just didn’t seem that appropriate to spend that much time on his own son,” Schmitz said.
Joe Biden lost his son Joseph “Beau” Biden III to brain cancer in 2015; the son had also served a year in Iraq with the Army judge advocate corps as a captain.
Others who met with the president were equally critical, including Roice McCollum, whose brother Rylee, also a Marine, was killed in the attack.
“The president brought up his son, Beau, according to her account, describing his son’s military service and subsequent death from cancer,” the Post reported. “It struck the family as scripted and shallow, a conversation that lasted only a couple of minutes in ‘total disregard to the loss of our Marine,’” the paper quoted Roice as saying.
“He cannot possibly understand. My dad and I did not want to speak to him. You cannot kneel on our flag and pretend you care about our troops,” McCollom told the Post.
“You can’t f*** up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry. 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,” she continued.
Rylee’s mother Kathy McCollum also lashed out at Biden when she called into the “Wilkow Majority” talk radio show on Friday after getting the news that her son had been killed.
“20 years and six months old. Getting ready to come home from freaking’ Jordan to be with his wife to watch the birth of his son. And that sackless, dementia-ridden piece of crap just sent my son to die. I woke up at 4’o’clock this morning to marines at my door telling me my son was dead.”
Finally, the president was also condemned by families who stood outside near him as their fallen loved ones were removed from a C-17 transport plane because he kept checking his watch.
“Looks like he was being inconvenienced by having to show some respect for these American Heros [sic],” Samuel Williams, a disabled US Army veteran, said on Twitter.
Looks like he was being inconvenienced by having to show some respect for these American Heros. https://t.co/omAs3CIqjj
— Samuel Williams (@votesamuelwill1) August 29, 2021
“It’s true. Joe Biden checked his watch during the dignified transfer of the servicemembers killing in Afghanistan at the airport,” columnist Nicholas Fondacaro wrote.
It's true. Joe Biden checked his watch during the dignified transfer of the servicemembers killing in Afghanistan at the airport. You can see him jerk his left hand to pull the watch out from under his sleeve, then look down at it. pic.twitter.com/M3QVzJbTIm
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) August 29, 2021
“You can see him jerk his left hand to pull the watch out from under his sleeve, then look down at it,” he noted further.