On Monday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) hosted a public forum featuring the Gold Star families of some of the U.S. service members who were tragically killed during the horrific suicide bombing outside the Kabul airport during the chaotic military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.
Virtually all of those Gold Star families trashed President Joe Biden, along with other top administration officials, over their spinning of the calamitous failure as a "success," and more than one of those families directly accused Biden and others of having deliberately lied to them about the circumstances of the deaths of their loved ones, the Daily Wire reported.
The purpose of Issa's forum was to give voice to the outrage and disrespect felt by the Gold Star families over the manner in which they and their lost loved ones were treated by the Biden administration, potentially in advance of more formal congressional hearings and investigations in the future.
According to a press release from Rep. Issa, the public forum for the Gold Star families was held at City Hall in Escondido, California, near the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Pendleton, where a majority of the 13 U.S. service members killed in the August 26, 2021 bombing in Kabul had been stationed.
"The Biden Administration lied to every one of these Gold Star families, and that's why we brought them forward. These are the words the White House didn’t want the country to hear," the California congressman said in a statement.
"No longer will President Biden be able to turn the page on these families and continue to call the Afghanistan withdrawal a 'success' while hiding the truth from the American people," he added.
According to Fox News, one of the Gold Star mothers at the forum, Kelly Barnett, the mother of Marine SSgt. Darin Taylor Hoover, struggled to contain her emotions as she shared the concerns her son had expressed prior to his death about the "chaos, no communication, lack of leadership" he had witnessed during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
She further shared the "total disrespect" she and others received from a Biden administration that "told lies" and gave "incomplete" and "incorrect" information about the circumstances of the deaths of their loved ones. "I was told to my face, he died on impact. That's not true. The only reason that I know this is because witnesses told me the truth," she claimed. "I was lied to and basically told to shut up."
"He lived for a little while … he was giving out his ammo. He tied a tourniquet around his leg. I don't understand the reasoning of that lie," Barnett said of her son's death. "It makes no sense other than the fact that, did they really even do an investigation? Did they talk to witnesses? I don't know."
The fallen Marine sergeant's father, Darren Hoover, also directly called out President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, and others, and declared, "Be a grown ass man. Admit to your mistakes. Learn from them so that this doesn't happen ever, ever again." He added, "You all need to resign immediately. Our sons, daughters have more integrity in their little toes than every one of them combined."
The New York Post reported that another Gold Star mother, Cheryl Rex, the mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola, shared her dismay at how President Biden had likened the horrific death of her son in a suicide bombing to the death of his own eldest son, Beau, to brain cancer that he asserts is linked to Beau's prior deployment to Iraq as a National Guard lawyer.
"His words to me were, '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 recalled. "My heart started beating faster and I started shaking, knowing that their son died from cancer and they were able to be by his side."
To be sure, Beau Biden was laid to rest with honors in a "flag-draped coffin" following his death from cancer at a hospital in 2015 -- more than six years after he had returned from Iraq, where he and others were allegedly exposed to toxic chemicals produced by burn pits.
As for Rex, she questioned "how someone could honestly be so heartless to say he knew how I felt a little over 24 hours" after her son had died, and heartbreakingly added, "After this encounter, I have never had any personal correspondence, nor has my son been honored or his name spoken by this commander-in-chief or his administration on what I feel is because of their failures and poor planning to exit our troops from Afghanistan."