Understandably, President Joe Biden checking his watch numerous times during the dignified transfer ceremony at Dover Air Force Base Sunday for the 13 U.S. service members who were killed during last week’s suicide bombings in Afghanistan upset a lot of people, including some family members of our fallen heroes.
For those who missed the highly disrespectful moment, here’s the video clip:
Biden appears to check his watch during the dignified transfer ceremony at Dover Air Force Base. pic.twitter.com/oMsBefnmfS
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) August 29, 2021
As my colleague Nick Arama reported earlier, the respective fathers of two U.S. Marines killed in last week’s attacks told Sean Hannity Monday that Biden checked his watch multiple times during the ceremony, which they found deeply offensive.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the issue during today’s press briefing by Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich. Here’s how the exchange went down:
Heinrich: “Some of the Gold Star families have criticized the president’s conduct at the dignified transfer. There was a father of one Marine who said the president shouldn’t be checking his watch every time a flag-draped transport case came out of the plane. And a sister of another Marine said that it felt like a fake and scripted apology. Was the President looking at his watch and does he have a message to those people who felt that they were offended?”
Psaki: “Well, I would say his message to all of the family members who were there, those who were not even in attendance, is that he is grateful to their sons and daughters, the sacrifice they made to the country. That he knows firsthand what it’s like to lose a child and the fact no one can tell you anything or say anything, or there’s no words that are going to fill that hole that is left by that.
He’s not going to speak to and I’m not going to speak to the private conversations. Of course, they have the right to convey whatever they would like. But I will tell you, from spending a lot of time with him over the past couple of days, that he was deeply impacted by these family members who he met just two days ago. That he talks about them frequently in meetings and the incredible service and sacrifice of their sons and daughters. That is not going to change their suffering, but I wanted to convey that still.”
Jen Psaki just got questioned by @JacquiHeinrich about Biden disrespectfully looking at his watch (13x) while attending the dignified transfer of service members on Sunday. Psaki threw out some word salad about him feeling sorry for the families but refused to address the watch. pic.twitter.com/Rjk3tWXycN
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) August 31, 2021
What wasn’t said in the clip? Firstly, there was no denial, no attempt at spinning it into him looking at something else or doing something else rather than checking his watch.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there was no apology, no expression of regret, nothing.
If you’re not going to deny it, you should at the very least apologize for it. That didn’t happen today, as an apology did not come from Biden nor did it come from Psaki.
As I’ve often said, sometimes it’s what they *don’t* tell you that speaks volumes.
I was honestly hoping and praying that this administration’s response to what happened last week wouldn’t get worse, but unfortunately, it has. Then again, Psaki unintentionally warned us a few days ago that it could indeed get worse:
“And as I noted a few minutes ago, any day where you lose service members is — may be the worst day of your presidency, and hopefully there’s not more. But we are certainly early in the presidency at this point in time.”
There’s just no excuse for the lack of sensitivity and respect. None. These families deserved better than what they’ve gotten from this president, but sadly they’ll have one more disturbing memory to carry with them for the rest of their lives, and that’s the fact that the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military acted like he had more pressing matters to attend to than to pay respects to service members who were murdered in Afghanistan because of his failed exit strategy.