Biden slammed for ‘playing Gold Star dad’ after upsetting Marines’ families

PRESIDENT Joe Biden has been slammed for “playing a Gold Star father on TV” after families of slain Marines vented their frustrations.

William McGurn, a former speechwriter for George W Bush, took aim at the president in a stinging op-ed piece, adding Biden should stop invoking his dead son Beau Biden to deflect criticism of his handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.


Biden and first lady Jill watch as a Marine Corps carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of a Marine at Dover Air Force BaseCredit: AP
Joe Biden, right, talks with his son, Beau, at Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad in July 2009


Joe Biden, right, talks with his son, Beau, at Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad in July 2009Credit: AFP

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, McGurn said: “Mr Biden is not a Gold Star father and should stop playing one on TV.”

Beau died of brain cancer which Biden believes was caused by exposure to toxic chemicals at burn pits in Iraq while he was deployed in the country.

McGurn wrote Biden invoking his late son to justify his decision to remove troops from Afghanistan was out of place because Beau worked as a military lawyer and did not die in combat and said Beau was never deployed to the country.

McGurn said the president “refuses to acknowledge any hint of failure, much less his own culpability.”

“He has variously denied making any mistakes, claimed he anticipated the entire mess, and wherever possible blamed Donald Trump.

“He also dodges the hard question by constantly insisting the issue in contention is his decision to leave rather than the deadly hash he’s made of it.

“And he bizarrely keeps invoking his son, the late Maj. Beau Biden, a Delaware Army National Guard lawyer who served honorably in Baghdad and whose early death from brain cancer was tragic but has nothing to do with Afghanistan, much less the 11 Marines, Navy corpsman and Army soldier killed in Thursday’s suicide bombing.”

McGurn’s attack on Biden comes after the president was blasted by a dad of one of the 13 Marines killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul.

The father of Lance Cpl Jared Schmitz, 20, a Marine who was killed in the attack told The New York Times, Biden’s comments at Dover Air Force base were “too much to bear”.

Mark Schmitz had gone to the base to accept the transfer of his son’s remains and had spoken to Biden at the time, who changed the conversation to speak about his son Beau.

“I respect anybody that lost somebody, but it wasn’t an appropriate time,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz said that he was so alienated by Biden that when asked by the paper if he would be open to receiving a phone call from the president, he declined.

Last week Biden was also blasted by another Gold Star dad, Darin Hoover, who slammed the president for repeatedly checking his watch at a ceremony marking the return of the 13 US servicemembers killed.

Both Schmitz and Hoover claimed Biden kept checking his watch after every casket was removed from the plane.


Hoover said he had refused to meet the president at the event.

Schmitz said his meeting with the president “didn’t go well” as Biden spent more time talking about his own son rather than Jared.

He said he had wanted to talk about Jared and that he and his wife took out a photo of their son to show the president.

“I said: ‘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’,” Schmitz told The New York Post. 

“And take some time to learn their stories”.

But according to Schmitz, the president didn’t like that and replied: “I do know their stories.”


Schmitz said Biden repeatedly looking at his watch was “disrespectful”

He 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.”

In a period of less than two weeks, Biden has invoked his late son Beau at least five times in public remarks when talking about the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Biden was blasted as being 'disrespectful' at the Dover Air Force Base by families of the dead Marines killed by the suicide bomber


Biden was blasted as being ‘disrespectful’ at the Dover Air Force Base by families of the dead Marines killed by the suicide bomberCredit: AP
Fathers of fallen Marines say Biden checked his watch after EACH casket

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