President Joe Biden met with the families of service members killed in last week’s terror attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, over the weekend, but some of the attendees report that the meetings did not go as planned.
The Washington Post reported on the meetings, noting that the president “paid his respects to the 13 Americans killed in last week’s suicide bombing in Afghanistan as his military leaders tried to avert more carnage in the final days of a chaotic withdrawal from the country, carrying out a strike on a vehicle in Kabul that officials said posed a terrorist threat.”
Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, were present at Dover Air Force Base for the “dignified transfer” of the deceased service members bodies’, “including the family of Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum,” who left behind his wife, who is due to give birth within the next few weeks.
“One of McCollum’s sisters, Roice, said she and her sister and her father joined McCollum’s wife, Jiennah McCollum, on the trip. But when it came time to meet with the president, they left the room, because she said they did not want to speak with the man they held responsible for McCollum’s death,” The Washington Post reported.
“Only Jiennah, who is expecting the couple’s child next month, stayed. But she left disappointed, Roice said,” per the Post.
“The president brought up his son, Beau, according to her account, describing his son’s military service and subsequent death from cancer. 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,'” Roice told the paper.
The Post notes that Biden does have a playbook for meeting with victims of tragedy, and he often references the death of his son, Beau, who served in Iraq. This time, though, the family said it was different given that Biden ultimately made the decision that led to McCollum’s death.
“You can’t f— up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry,” Roice said. “This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands.”
The McCollum family is hardly alone in having strong words for the president, who ordered the withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31st, apparently not anticipating a Taliban blitz that left the country’s capital city of Kabul in Taliban hands in mid-August. The subsequent crush to evacuate thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Afghan allies gave way to tragedy last Thursday, when a suicide bomber attacked the gates of Hamid Karzai International Airport, killing 13 U.S. service members and dozens of others.
Steve Nikoui, whose son Kareem died also died in the blast, vented his own frustration to The Daily Beast on Friday, accusing Biden of “turning his back” on those sent to facilitate the president’s withdrawal.
“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. That’s it.”
McCollum’s mother called the president a “feckless, dementia-ridden piece of crap” in an impromptu interview with a Sirius XM radio show. “I woke up at four o’clock this morning, two Marines at my door telling me my son was dead. So, to [have her on] right before me and listen to that piece of crap talk about diplomatic crap with frickin Taliban terrorists who just freakin blew up my son and no, nothing, to not say anything about oh my god, I’m so sorry for families. So, my son is gone.”
She accused Democrats who voted for Biden of “killing” her son.