Gold Star families spoke out about the tragic Afghanistan withdrawal at a congressional forum hosted by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Monday, demanding answers from President Joe Biden about why their loved ones were killed outside Kabul airport nearly two years ago.
The Defense Department has yet to provide a response to the stinging criticism but offered condolences in a statement released through the San Diego Union-Tribune.
One mother who lost her son Marine Lance Corporal Dylan Merola shared an eerily insensitive encounter with Biden shortly after her son’s death. Cheryl Rex recalled that when Biden entered the room, he said: “My wife Jill and I know how you feel. We lost our son as well and brought him home in a flag-draped coffin.”
Rex expressed her confusion over being met with this comment only 24 hours after burying her son. She also noted that she had not received any personal correspondence from Biden or his administration since then, leading her to believe that it was due to “failures and poor planning” during the evacuation operation.
The common theme among all family members present at Monday’s forum was their disappointment in Biden for dodging accountability regarding what happened on the day of bombing.
Kelly Barnett, mother of Staff Sgt Taylor Hoover mentioned how they were fed “lies” and “incomplete reports” which ultimately led to disrespecting their fallen loved ones.
Barnett further revealed that she had heard from eyewitnesses that her son had lived for some time after being hit—contrary to what officials had told them initially.
Christy Shamblin, mother-in-law of Marine Sgt Nicole Gee criticized government officials for claiming success during the Afghanistan evacuation as it felt like “the ultimate disrespect” given all those lives lost throughout the process.
The event marked the first time these Gold Star families were given an opportunity to share their stories before Congress—now officially recorded in its report books forever more.
The Blaze reported:
Rex, meanwhile, said she heard from Marines who served with her son that Abbey Gate was targeted in a “complex attack,” not a suicide bombing as officials claimed.
Not only did the parents blast the Biden administration for dodging accountability and allegedly lying, but parents criticized government officials for claiming the Afghanistan evacuation was successful.
The Defense Department, when asked for comment about the stinging criticism, refused to address it.
“The Department of Defense expresses our deepest condolences to the Gold Star Families who lost loved ones during the tragic bombing at Abbey Gate. We are forever grateful for their service, sacrifice, and committed efforts during the evacuation operations,” the Pentagon said in a statement, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.