EXCLUSIVE: Rep. said. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., that he is still waiting for a response from the White House about his requested meeting between President Biden and the Gold Star families of Afghanistan, who are in Washington, DC, this month.
Issa sent a letter a week ago to Biden, requesting to contact the families of the fallen US service members from the terrorist attack at the Kabul airport on August 26, 2021, which occurred during of the chaotic departure of the president’s military.
The families were in Washington last week when Issa, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, held a congressional forum, and the families reported feeling lost and betrayed by their own government.
“After spending many meaningful days with them, I am writing to facilitate the opportunity for you to speak with them in person so that you can finally take the time to listen and hear what they have to say,” Issa wrote in an Aug. 10 letter to Biden , given to Fox News Digital on Wednesday. “So far, that hasn’t happened.”
BIDEN’S USE OF GOLD STAR FAMILIES UNDER RENEWED SCRUTINY: ‘TOTAL DISREGARD’
“By any objective measure, these families have been ignored by your administration as it seeks to ‘turn the page’ on the events surrounding the departure and evacuation,” Issa continued. “From questions about the personal effects of the fallen to the details of the attack and the apparent lack of accountability, I heard from family members how they felt ignored, lied to, and betrayed since their loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice.”
“I believe that you will greatly benefit from hearing the experiences of families and their testimonials with their loved ones. With this in mind, I would be happy to make a connection between you and them,” concluded Issa in his letter. “Please feel free to contact me with your staff.”
AFGHANISTAN’S WITHDRAWAL: A POLITICAL TURNING POINT FOR PUBLIC FEELINGS TOWARD BIDEN
Issa said he has yet to hear back from Biden.
“For two years, Joe Biden has ignored and insulted these Gold Star parents as he turned the page on his disastrous decisions that cost the lives of 13 of our service members,” Issa said in a statement. on Fox News Digital. “He has yet to in any way make this right with the families. Does he have the courage to face them? Not yet.”
Fox News Digital asked the White House if the president had a response to the request or if the president had plans to meet with the families, but it declined to comment.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul announced Tuesday that the full committee will hold a roundtable discussion on “Reviewing the Abbey Gate Terrorist Attack,” which will include some of the Gold Star’s family members on Aug. 29.
At a committee hearing on families last week, some called Biden and his top Cabinet officials by name, calling on them to resign.
Kelly Barnett, the mother of Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, who spoke last week and will be a panelist at this month’s roundtable, accused Biden officials of lying to her about her son’s death — and told her he died instantly only for eyewitnesses to say to him that he “lived but for a moment.”
“We were told lies, given incomplete reports, incorrect reports, total disrespect,” Barnett said. “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. I was lied to and basically told to shut up.”
MOST HEART BREAKING FROM THE GOLD STAR FAMILIES WITNESS THE KABUL ATTACK
said Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui’s father, Steve Nikoui, accused Biden during the hearing of using his Marine son “as a pawn so we can meet his September 11 deadline and get the optics he wants.”
“My life and that of my family has been on pause since the early hours of August 26, 2021,” the emotional father said. “The difference between the minutes of my life before that and the minutes that passed after that day was very different.”
Christy Shamblin, the mother-in-law of Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee, held back tears at the hearing as she described her reaction to Biden officials hailing the evacuation as a victory.
“When our leaders, including the secretary of defense and our commander in chief, called this evacuation a success, as if there should be a celebration, it was like a knife in the heart for our families and for people. [who] come back,” Shamblin said. “I’m alive [every] a day knowing that these deaths are preventable. My son could be with us now.”
“I can’t even begin to put the words together to convey to you the devastation his murder has caused our family,” she said.
Nikoui, Shamblin and seven other family members are also listed as panelists for the August 29 discussion.
MOTHER OF MARINE KILLED IN KABUL, HER ‘F—ING EYES’ ROLLED WHEN SHE REMEMBERED HER SON AT THE MEETING.
When reached for comment last week about the families’ criticism, a White House official told Fox News Digital that the president and first lady will “always respect the sacrifices of the 13 service members who were killed in the attack that.”
“We mourn them, we remember their loved ones, and we will continue to support these Gold Star families,” the official said. “We are extremely proud of the men and women of our military, our diplomats and the intel community who carried out that withdrawal – they performed bravely and helped evacuate more than 120,000 people in one of the largest airlifts in history.”
“But more broadly, the President has made the tough decision to end the 20-year war in Afghanistan because he will not send another generation of troops to fight and die in a conflict that never ends,” the official added.
GOLD STAR FATHER SAYS BIDEN ‘BRISTLED’ WHEN TOLD TO LEARN FROM FALLEN SERVICE MEMBERS’ STORIES: WASHINGTON POST
Biden previously received criticism for his treatment of Gold Star families immediately after the 2021 attack in Kabul.
Following the attack, Biden met in Dover, Delaware, with family members of the 13 killed, but some of them later spoke out, accusing the president of repeatedly bringing up his late son Beau, and is said to regularly check his watch during the dignified transfer of soldiers’ remains.
Cheyenne McCollum, one of the siblings of Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, said she met with Biden with McCollum’s pregnant widow and that the president would not look family members in the eye and spent three minutes talking about Beau, who served in Iraq with the Army and died in 2015 due to brain cancer.
“I was able to stand about 15 seconds of his fake, scripted apology and I had to walk away,” Cheyenne told “Fox & Friends” at the time.
Mark Schmitz, the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, Biden said was angry and responded directly to his request that he learn the individual stories of the 13 fallen.
“At first, I wasn’t going to meet him,” Schmitz said at the time. “But then I felt that I owed it to my son to have some words with him about how I felt, and it didn’t go well.”
FATHERS OF MARINE KILLED IN KABUL BLAST RIP BIDEN: ‘HE TALKED TO HIS SON MORE THAN MY SON’
The controversy resurfaced Biden’s reported past treatment of Gold Star families prior to leaving Afghanistan.
For example, Mike Iubelt, the father of fallen Army Pfc. Tyler Iubelt told the Washington Examiner in October 2019 that he had a “terrible experience” meeting the now-president in 2016 after the death of his son in Afghanistan days earlier. Iubelt said she left their conversation “feeling worse” than before.
“He told my daughter-in-law … that she was too beautiful for this to happen to her,” Iubelt recalled. “It’s probably a good thing he’s surrounded by the Secret Service, probably for both of us, because I’m probably in jail right now.”
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Kyle Morris and Elizabeth Elkind of Fox News contributed to this report.