House Republican Calls For Charges Against Gold Star Dad To Be Dropped
A heckler yells out as U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address during a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol on March 07, 2024 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Charges against a Gold Star father arrested for disrupting President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address this month should be dropped, according to a House Republican.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger on Monday offering a defense of Steve Nikoui speaking out for his late son Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, who was one of the 13 U.S. service members killed in the 2021 Kabul airport attack.

“Mr. Nikoui’s arrest for emotionally expressing his grief and seeking acknowledgment for his son’s sacrifice during the State of the Union – where he called out, ‘Abbey Gate! Kareem Nikoui! Second Battalion, First Marines!’ – highlighted a profound disconnect between the sacrifices made by our service members and the recognition they deserve,” Issa said.

“Though he interrupted the event, what Mr. Nikoui voiced out loud was a cry for the acknowledgment of the loss endured by the families of the 13 who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” he added.

The elder Nikoui, who was a guest of Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), shouted as Biden spoke about murder rates during his address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol, causing the president to momentarily pause.

After leaving the chamber at the order of law enforcement, Nikoui was briefly detained and charged with a misdemeanor for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding” during a protest — a charge that carries a fine of up to $500 and 90 days in prison, The Daily Wire previously reported.

Nikoui said in an interview for the Morning Wire podcast that he blames the Biden administration for his son’s death that happened as U.S. troops were being hastily withdrawn from Afghanistan and indicated that he does not regret speaking up during Biden’s speech.

“I don’t think I disrespected anyone,” Nikoui said. “I don’t think I dishonored my son.”


Issa said he had the “honor” of getting to know Nikoui over the past year and held a public forum in August that included an impact statement from Nikoui and others. The congressman also noted that the Nikoui family suffered another loss a year after the airport bombing “when Kareem’s grieving brother took his own life.”

Steve Nikoui is a “man of kindness and integrity,” said Issa, adding that his “actions are driven by an unwavering love of country and a deep commitment to honoring the memory and sacrifices of his son and the other fallen heroes of the Abbey Gate.”

The letter, which was first reported by Townhall, ended with Issa urging Manger to drop the charges against the elder Nikoui.

“I implore you to review this situation carefully, taking into consideration his profound loss, the context of his actions, and the apparently disproportionate punishment sought for him — but not for others who have similarly disrupted the State of the Union address,” Issa said. “I am confident you will find him to be an upstanding citizen filled with love for his nation, integrity, and honor.”

He added, “You have the authority not to proceed in this matter. I hope you will decide to drop the charges against Mr. Nikoui.”

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