Some family members of the 13 fallen U.S. service members lashed out at President Joe Biden during the Sunday dignified transfer of their remains, a Tuesday report details.
Mark Schmitz, the father of Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, told The Washington Post that a sister of a fallen troop yelled at the president after receiving the remains on Sunday: ‘I hope you burn in hell! That was my brother!’
‘I can’t fault her for it,’ Schmitz told the Post. ‘We all lost somebody.’
Schmitz said that he showed a picture of his son to Biden and told the president: ‘Don’t you ever forget that name. Don’t you ever forget that face. Don’t you ever forget the names of the other 12. And take some time to learn their stories.’
He recalled that Biden didn’t seem to like those comments.
‘I do know their stories,’ Schmitz detailed that the president shot back.
The families gathered in Dover, Delaware on Sunday where the remains of the 13 troops who died in a suicide bombing near the Kabul airport on Thursday arrived. Biden was at the base for the dignified transfer of the fallen.
Marine Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum’s family was also at Dover Air Force Base on Sunday as his remains returned to the U.S. – and they were given a chance to meet with the president.
Only McCollum’s widow, Jiennah, accepted the meeting.
The family told the Post that Jiennah was left disappointed by her talk with Biden.
Families of the fallen U.S. service members were left disappointed by Joe Biden at the dignified transfer on Sunday. One sister of a fallen Marine yelled at the president: ‘I hope you burn in hell! That was my brother!’
Rylee McCollum’s family (L-R: sister Cheyenne, sister Roice and father Jim) said they felt Biden was ‘fake’ in his sympathy on Sunday. Roice and Jim refused to meet with he president at Dover
Fallen Marine Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum’s widow Jiennah (right) thought her talk with Biden felt scripted. The two married six months ago and Jiennah is due to give birth to their child next month
McCollum’s sister Roice said she didn’t want to meet with Biden because ‘you cannot kneel on our flag and pretend you care about our troops. You can’t f**k up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry. This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands’
One of McCollum’s sisters, Roice, said her brother’s widow thought Biden sounded scripted in their few-minute conversation.
Roice said that during the meeting with Jiennah, Biden showed a ‘total disregard to the loss of our Marine — our brother, son, husband and father.’
‘He cannot possibly understand,’ Roice said. ‘My dad and I did not want to speak to him.’
‘You cannot kneel on our flag and pretend you care about our troops,’ she said. ‘You can’t f**k up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry. This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands. The thousands of Afghans who will suffer and be tortured is a direct result of his incompetence.’
During an interview with Fox News on Tuesday morning, Rylee’s other sister Cheyenne detailed that she stayed with Jiennah at the start of her conversation with Biden, but walked away when she felt he was being ‘fake.’
‘Roice and my dad chose to leave the room. I chose to stay with my brother’s wife,’ Cheyenne said. ‘She wanted the chance to look him in the eye and see if it was going to be a sincere conversation or apology.
‘I was able to stand about 15 seconds of his fake, scripted apology and I had to walk away,’ she continued.
She detailed that Biden ‘would not look us in the eye’ and felt ‘there was not an ounce of sympathy’ coming from him.
‘He tapped her on the knee and said, ‘I know what you’re going through, I lost my son,’ Cheyenne detailed, tapping her sister on the shoulder.
Jim McCollum, Rylee’s father, told Fox & Friends: ‘It was more about his son. My son wasn’t mentioned.’
‘It was his son and about him and nothing to do with the 13,’ he said.
Jiennah married Rylee just six months ago and is due to give birth to his child next month.
President Joe Biden is under fire for looking at his watch during Sunday’s ‘dignified transfer’ onto American soil of the 13 American troops killed in Thursday’s Kabul suicide bomb attack
The US Marine Corps posted a photo to Twitter Sunday evening, of 11 flag flag-draped caskets of their fallen brethren killed in Thursday’s suicide bomb attack in Kabul
The president continues to get flak for his handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and for repeatedly checking his watch during the dignified transfer of 11 of the service members on Sunday
Mark Schmitz and and Darin Hoover – the father of Staff Sergeant Darin Taylor Hoover Jr. – spoke to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday night where they blasted Biden for repeatedly checking his watching during the return of the service members who were killed.
Both fathers claimed Biden checked his watch after every casket was removed from the plane on Sunday.
‘The checking of his watch, that didn’t happen just once,’ said Hoover regarding a picture emerging of the president glancing down at the clock on his wrist.
‘That happened on every single one that came out of that airplane. It happened on every single one of them,’ he said in awe.
‘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.’
‘As a father, you know, seeing that and the disrespect…’
Schmitz added: ‘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 especially the time and why we were there, I found it to be the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen.’
Hoover said he refused to meet with the president at the event.
Schmitz said his own meeting ‘didn’t go well’, and Biden spent more time talking about his own son Beau than Jared Schmitz and the other fallen.
The fathers of fallen Marines Jared Schmitz (left) and Taylor Hoover (right) spoke out against Biden
Mark Schmitz (left) and Darin Hoover (center) told Sean Hannity on Monday that Biden repeatedly checking his watch during the dignified transfer on Sunday
The president, Hoover and Schmitz said, checked his watch as each casket was taken off the plane during the ceremony
The president stood with his hand over his heart as remains were carried in a flag-draped casket by service members at the Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware on Sunday
President Joe Biden attended on Sunday the dignified transfer of the remains of service members killed in the Kabul airport attack
It’s true. Joe Biden checked his watch during the dignified transfer of the servicemembers killing in Afghanistan at the airport. You can see him jerk his left hand to pull the watch out from under his sleeve, then look down at it. pic.twitter.com/M3QVzJbTIm
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) August 29, 2021
The president made the unannounced trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Sunday morning as the caskets of the 13 service members killed in the attack were brought back to the United States.
He stood in silence, his right hand to his chest, as a succession of flag draped transfer coffins were carried past him from a C-17 Globemaster plane.
But during the ceremony, Biden appears to jerk his left arm up and look down at his watch.
The 13 killed on Thursday were Navy corpsman Max Soviak, Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, and Marines Hunter Lopez, Rylee McCollum, David Lee Espinoza, Kareem Nikoui, Jared Schmitz, Daegan Page, Taylor Hoover, Humberto Sanchez, Johanny Rosario, Dylan Merola and Nicole Gee.
Their remains arrived at Dover Air Force Base, at 8am for a ‘dignified transfer,’ the solemn moment when fallen troops return to American soil.
Mark Schmitz, from Missouri, said he was also left disappointed by his meeting with Biden.
‘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,’ said Schmitz.
‘And it didn’t go well.
‘He talked a bit more about his own son than we did my own son in that didn’t sit well with me.’
Biden’s own son Beau served in Iraq, and died in 2015 from a brain tumor, aged 46.
The president has frequently referenced Beau and his service, explaining that he feels kinship with military families and understands the feeling of loss.
Hoover, from Utah, said their family decided to turn down the chance to meet Biden.
Darin Hoover (pictured) told Hannity his family rejected Biden’s offer of speaking to them
‘We said absolutely not,’ he told Hannity.
‘We didn’t want to deal with them, we didn’t want to we didn’t want him anywhere near us.
‘We as a family decided that that was the way it was going to be.’
Both fathers paid tribute to their sons, with Hoover – whose son was due home on September 15, to retire and marry his fiancee Nicole – describing them all as heroes.
‘Every one of them is a hero. There’s no doubt,’ he said.
‘Every last one of them.
‘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.’
How Biden’s watch moment echoes both President Nixon and President Bush
President Joe Biden has come under fire after appearing to look at his watch during a ceremony to mark the return of the 13 US service members killed in Thursday’s ISIS-K suicide bombing in Kabul.
During the ceremony, Biden appeared to jerk his left arm up and look down at his watch, which sparked backlash from veterans and conservative commentators.
But Biden’s faux pas also echos other similar incidents involving past U.S. presidents – Richard Nixon and George Bush Senior.
While on a presidential visit to Belgium in June 1974, Nixon had just finished attending a luncheon hosted by then-King Baudouin of Belgium.
Afterwards, Nixon went outside the Royal Palace in Brussels to greet the public, and walked along the front of a crowd of people shaking their hands one-by-one.
But as Nixon – followed closely his secret service security detail – shook one man’s hand, he lifted his left arm up to check his watch, seemingly more concerned with keeping his busy schedule.
Pictured: Nixon checks his watch as he shakes hands with a member of the public in Brussels, 1974
It was in that precise moment a photographer snapped a picture of him, and within two months, Nixon had resigned as president following the Watergate scandal.
Some 18 years later, George Bush Senior was also caught out checking his watch multiple times during a presidential debate in 1992.
As a women from the audience started to ask him a direct question, Bush was caught on camera checking his watch and hoisting up his trousers.
Bush, the president at the time, would go on to lose the 1992 election to Bill Clinton, who he was competing against during the debate, along with independent candidate Ross Perot.
President George H.W. Bush looks at his watch during the 1992 presidential campaign debate