Empty Psaki doesn’t deny Biden looked at watch during ceremony for 13 US soldiers killed in Kabul

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki sidestepped a question about whether President Joe Biden had been checking his watch during Sunday’s dignified transfer ceremony, suggesting that she knows deep inside that he had indeed been checking it.

During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Psaki was pressed specifically about accusations from Gold Star families that they’d felt disrespected by both the president’s watch-checking antics and his seeming lack of sincerity.

“Some of the Gold Star families have criticized the president’s conduct at the dignified transfer. There was a father of one Marine who said that the president appeared to be checking his watch every time a black-draped transfer case came out of a plane, and a sister of another Marine said that it felt like a fake and scripted apology,” Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich said, recounting some of the accusations.

“Was the President looking at his watch? And does he have a message to those people who felt that they were offended?” Heinrich then asked.

Psaki completely ignored the question about the watch, though she did make an attempt to address the families’ general disgust and displeasure.

Listen:

“I would say his message to all of the family members who were there, those who were not even in attendance, is that he is grateful to their sons and daughters, the sacrifice they made to the country — that he knows firsthand what it’s like to lose a child, and the fact that no one can tell you anything or say anything, or there’s no words that are going to fill that hole that is left by that,” she said.

Notice how she, just like the president, brought up Biden’s oldest son, Beau, who died of cancer versus being killed during a preventable terrorist bombing.

“He’s not going to speak to, and I’m not going to speak to the private conversations. Of course, they have the right to convey whatever they would like,” Psaki then added, almost sounding snide.

“But I will tell you from spending a lot of time with him over the past couple of days, that he was deeply impacted by these family members who he met just two days ago, that he talks about them frequently in meetings and the incredible service and sacrifice of their sons and daughters. That is not going to change their suffering, but I wanted to convey that still,” she continued.

Talk is cheap, and the description of the president’s alleged anguish certainly doesn’t match the impression that the Gold Star families got from him.

The sister of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, one of the 13 U.S. service members who perished during last week’s bombing at the airport in Kabul, described her own meeting with the president as “scripted and shallow.”

The father of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz meanwhile told Fox News host Sean Hannity that during his meeting with Biden, the president spoke “more about his own son than he did my son.”

Father of Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover added that the president hadn’t checked his watch just once — he’d checked it over and over again.

“It happened on every single one that came out of that airplane. It happened on every single one of them. 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,” he said.

“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’s father reported 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. 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,” he told Hannity.

Juxtaposed against these accusations from multiple families, Psaki’s claim that the president was “deeply impacted” just doesn’t seem to hold much weight.

It seemed to many, in fact, that she was just moving her lips in defense of her boss instead of speaking words of truth.

Vivek Saxena

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