(USNewsMag.com) – Gold Star families of the 13 U.S. service members killed during the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal gave emotional testimony during a congressional forum that was held on Aug. 7 by California Rep. Darrell Issa.
During the testimony, the families stated they felt betrayed by the government, leading to renewed scrutiny of President Joe Biden’s treatment of the families. Some families mentioned Biden as well as his top Cabinet officials, saying that they should resign. The 13 U.S. Service members were killed by suicide bombers on Aug. 26, 2021, during Biden’s chaotic mass evacuation at the Kabul airport.
Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover’s mother, Kelly Barnett, spoke first for about 15 minutes, stating that she was lied to about her son’s death by Biden administration officials. According to eyewitnesses, her son “lived for a little while,” but officials said he died immediately. She said what the families have been given is “total disrespect.”
Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui’s father, Steve Nikoui, stated that Biden used his son “as a pawn” to meet his deadline and “get the optics he wanted.”
Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee’s mother-in-law, Christy Shamblin, said it was a “knife in the heart” for the families to hear the Biden administration officials calling the evacuation successful.
According to the mother of Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, Coral Briseno, the seven survivors of the attack who have since committed suicide have received no recognition from the White House.
Issa stated that the families have sought to retrieve personal effects but have been stonewalled by the White House.
In 2021, Biden’s treatment of the Gold Star families was first criticized. After family members met with Biden in Dover, Delaware, many spoke out, saying he checked his watch routinely and brought up his late son Beau.
Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum’s sister, Cheyenne McCollum, said she listened to his “fake, scripted apology” for 15 seconds before walking away.
In a Facebook post, Lance Cpl. Nikoui’s mother, Shana Chappell, said Biden made the conversation about Beau.
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