According to first-hand accounts, President Joe Biden treated U.S. Gold Star families, whose loved ones passed away during the disastrous 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal, with a remarkable lack of compassion — even for Biden. Former President Donald Trump, on the other hand, honored those same families with the utmost respect and dignity on a recent night to remember.
Don’t take this author’s words for it, listen to the mothers and fathers of the brave American soldiers who died in 2021 after a bomb detonated at the Kabul airport, killing 13 of America’s bravest. Trump hosted relatives of those heroes at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey on August 31.
For example, per a report from The Spectator’s Matthew Foldi, Paula Knauss Selph — the mother of Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss — was moved to tears as Trump wrote on her son’s photo, “You are My Hero.” Knauss Selph told Foldi that those are the exact same words she uses to describe her son.
Now, contrast that moment with Biden’s treatment of the anguished parent.
Knauss Selph, who now serves as the executive director of the Respect and Remember Foundation, met with Biden in the Oval Office at an event for Gold Star families in Washington, D.C., on Memorial Day 2022, The Daily Wire previously reported.
At first, Biden said to her, “I can understand if you’re angry,” when they were face to face.
“I stood face-to-face with him, eyeball-to-eyeball. I began to weep,” she said, saying that she told him, “It should have never happened this way.”
“He stood there stoically,” she said of Biden. “Nothing out of his mouth except — well would you like to get a photo with me?”
Knauss Selph told Biden she would only agree to a photo if it was of her and the president at her son’s tombstone at Arlington National Cemetery.
He declined, claiming that the Secret Service would not let him do so.
After that experience, Knauss Selph blasted the current president, saying, “It’s a moral disgrace for a president not to have mercy on the people that he serves. It is a moral disgrace.”
She wasn’t alone in her sentiments toward the two presidents.
Christy Shamblin, the mother-in-law of the late Sergeant Nicole Gee, told Foldi, “Trump was way more than I expected.”
“The contrast is stark with the president we met at [Dover Air Force Base],” she added.
Recently, Shamblin testified before Congress, “The administration didn’t seem to know our story,” while adding that “when it came to the people in suits, it felt disingenuous and hollow.”
Biden, readers will also remember, checked his watch repeatedly at Dover Air Force Base while there to welcome home to the 13 caskets of the deceased Americans.
That national embarrassment enraged the nation, but the families of those brave men and women were — understandably — particularly stung by the commander-in-chief’s lack of empathy.
“In reference to the checking of his watch, that didn’t happen just once,” Darin Hoover, who lost his son, Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, said in 2021. “That 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 13 – he looked down at his watch.”
He added, “As a father, you know, seeing that and the disrespect, and hearing from his former leaders, one of his master sergeants said exactly what you just said, that this was avoidable, that they left them over there. They let them down, we can’t have that. It can’t happen ever again.”
Hoover also testified before Congress the same week after meeting Trump in late August.
“Between Congress and Trump, it turned into a really good week,” he told Foldi. “Lots of emotion and good times.”
NEW from me @TheSpectator:
Donald Trump spent an evening privately hosting some of the Gold Star families whose kids were killed in Biden's failed Afghanistan withdrawal
"He knew our names, he knew our kids…He took the time to honor our 13."https://t.co/LlZ152HBU8
— Matthew Foldi (@MatthewFoldi) September 12, 2023
Marlon Bateman, an executive advisor to the Utah attorney general, was also in attendance and provided more details as to what the night was like — again drawing a sharp distinction from Biden’s treatment of the families.
“We did not expect President Trump to join us, but to my surprise, he came up and joined us for dinner,” Bateman said. “Everyone erupted in cheers as he walked in. Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless The U.S.A’ was blaring on the speakers. He proceeded to spend another couple of hours with us and even busted out an iPad to play songs for couples to slow dance to. He even went into his all-time favorite wrestling intros! At that moment I could see the anxiety, stress, and anger that these parents had carried for so long disappear from their faces. It was a moment of peace. They were there to celebrate the heroes they raised. Their babies grew up to be the best our country had to offer, and they were getting some of the recognition they deserved.”
Bateman added, “[Trump] did something for these families that the current administration has refused to do, and was incapable of doing — giving an overdue moment of recognition and solidarity for their children. Not a bullshit statement from the White House, not John Kirby sending his deepest condolences on CNN, not Joe Biden continually glancing at his watch while the bodies of their children were carried off the tarmac. He gave them hope that accountability and justice will be coming.”
Last week, I had the honor to accompany several Gold Star parents to meet with President Trump in Bedminster. These parents lost their children when Abbey Gate was bombed in the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was orchestrated by Joe Biden.
While Biden continues… pic.twitter.com/wOJEKVG4r2
— MarlonBateman (@MarlonBateman) September 5, 2023
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s administration recently released a report calling the withdrawal a “success” and Biden has said the withdrawal was “responsible, deliberate and safe.”
Of course, readers know the lapdog media will never cover this story — it paints too much of a black-and-white difference between Biden and Trump. Thank goodness for conservative press and social media to get the story out there.
The names of the 13 Americans killed during the withdrawal can be read here:
- Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25
- Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23
- Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31
- Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22
- Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23
- Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22
- Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20
- Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20
- Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20
- Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20
- Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20
- Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak, 22
- Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.