Two Gold Star fathers who lost U.S. Marine sons during the suicide bombings last week at the Kabul airport slammed President Biden for his “disrespectful” behavior at Dover Air Force Base while attending the dignified transfer of the remains of 13 U.S. service members who were killed in Afghanistan.
Mark Schmitz, father of Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, and Darin Hoover, father of Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, appeared Monday on Fox News’ “Hannity,” to talk about their sons and share their experiences with Biden.
Host Sean Hannity first asked Schmitz about his meeting with the president.
“Initially, I wasn’t going to meet with him, but then I felt I owed it to my son to at least have some words with him about how I felt, and… it didn’t go well,” said the grieving father. “He talked a bit more about his own son than he did my son and that didn’t sit well with me.”
Hoover described the pain he was enduring as “the absolute worst feeling in the world,” as he struggled to contain his grief.
“Every one of them is a hero. Every last one of them,” he said. “They died with their brothers and their sisters right next to them, doing exactly what they all wanted to do and that is defending this country.”
As for meeting Biden, Hoover said the family decided “absolutely not.”
“We didn’t want to deal with him. We didn’t want him anywhere near us. We as a family decided that that was the way it was going to be,” he explained.
After Hannity referenced Biden checking his watch while at the dignified transfer at Dover, Hoover dropped a bit of a surprise analysis.
“In reference to the checking of his watch, that didn’t happen just once. It happened on every single one that came out of that airplane. It happened on every single one of them,” the distraught father said. “They would release the salute, and he would look down at his watch on every last one. All thirteen, he looked down at his watch.”
“As a father, seeing that as a disrespect, and hearing from his former leaders, one of his master sergeant said… this was avoidable, that they left them over there. They let them down, we can’t have that. It can’t happen ever again,” he added.
Schmitz said he noticed the same thing.
“I leaned into my son’s mother’s ear and I said, ‘I swear to God, if he checks his watch one more time,’ and that was probably only four times in,” he said. “I couldn’t look at him anymore after that. Considering the time and why we were there, I found it to be the most disrespectful thing I’d ever seen.”
The Washington Post reported that at one point while at Dover, the parents took out a photo to show the president.
Schmitz shared with the newspaper what he told Biden, “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 twelve. And take some time to learn their stories.’”
The family of fallen Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum was also dismayed with Biden.
McCollum’s pregnant widow saw the meeting as “scripted and shallow,” and said he spoke about his son Beau’s death, in “total disregard” to the dead Marine.
“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,” McCollum’s sister said.
While speaking with the Post, Schmitz remarked on a woman screaming in Biden’s direction when they got back on a bus, “I hope you burn in hell! That was my brother!”
It’s not clear if this was McCollum’s sister.
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