Under increasing fire for his handling of the crisis in Afghanistan, President Joe Biden drew additional scorn on Sunday when, during a ceremony for the 13 U.S. service members killed near the airport in Kabul last week, he appeared to take a moment to glance at his wristwatch to check the time, as the New York Post reports.
The event at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware marked the arrival of the remains of those who died in service to the country, and was intended as a somber ritual for the loved ones of the deceased – and a grateful nation – could pay tribute.
Biden appeared with his wife, Jill, and he raised his right hand to his heart upon seeing the flag-draped caskets removed from the transport plane, but then was seen to have looked downward at the watch on his wrist, a gesture that sparked backlash from veterans and commentators alike. Watch:
Representative of Biden’s critics was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who said, “Many of us remember Pres Bush 41 checking his watch during a debate and how awful it looked (even though we all felt same way about that debate). But this is shocking and will be remembered.”
As the Post noted, former White House physician-turned-congressman Ronny Jackson (R-TX) – a frequent Biden detractor – declared, “Apparently our Commander-in-Chief has better things to do than honor the 13 service members who died on his watch? I’m DISGUSTED! God bless these heroes and their loved ones. They deserved better.”
The watch misstep was not the only aspect of Biden’s visit to Dover to prompt outrage over the weekend, as Fox News reports that his meeting with the pregnant widow of one of the fallen was not particularly well-received. Jiennah McCollum, the widow of Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, was slated to be the only member of the deceased service member’s family to talk with Biden, after his father and sister’s declined to meet the president.
However, according to Roice McCollum, one of the Rylee’s sisters, the meeting Jiennah ultimately had with Biden was, as Fox News described it, “hollow and lacking meeting,” with Biden said to have shown a “total disregard to the loss of our Marine,” by focusing his remarks on the loss of his own son to brain cancer years ago.
The conduct of the Biden administration throughout the botched withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan has arguably been a humiliation of historic proportions, and with the president’s bizarre, awkward, and tone-deaf conduct toward military families in Dover, it is almost as if he is determined to add insult to injury.