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Father of Marine Killed in Kabul Says Biden Was ‘Barking’ at Him After ‘Staring Contest’

Mediaite logo Mediaite 9/1/2021 Michael Luciano
a group of people posing for the camera: Joe Biden at Dover Air Force Base © Provided by Mediaite Joe Biden at Dover Air Force Base

(Photo by Jason Minto/U.S. Air Force via Getty Images)

The father of a Marine who died in Thursday’s attack that killed 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members in Kabul said he an awkward encounter with President Joe Biden.

Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz of Wentzville, Missouri was just six months old when Al Qaeda carried out the September 11 attacks against the U.S. He died at the age of 20.

His father Mark Schmitz and Biden were at Dover Air Force Base on Sunday for the dignified transfer of his son’s body, along with those of the other service members killed in the attack. Schmitz told National Public Radio that he initially did not want to meet the president, but ultimately he changed his mind because he said he had a duty to his son to share his thoughts with Biden.

“After being able to sleep on that, I decided I owed it to Jared to express how I felt to him, so I changed my mind.”

Video: Father of Marine killed in Kabul attack: ‘I pray that no other family has to go through this’ (FOX News)

Schmitz relayed his encounter with the president:

I just stared him straight in the face. It was like a kid’s staring contest to see who was gonna blink first. He kept looking away and talking with my son’s mother and I just kept staring, and staring, and staring. And I’m sure Secret Service probably picked up on my body language and was moving in a little closer, not that I would ever do anything of course. But I just, I didn’t have a lot of good thoughts about the man and I just stood there quietly just staring. And finally my son’s mother had brought her phone out and asked him if she could show him a picture of Jared…

We showed it to him and he just kind of stared at it, mumbled something. I couldn’t really make out what he said. As he’s looking at this picture of my son, I just flat out said to him, ‘That’s Jared. That’s Jared Schmitz. Don’t ever forget that name and don’t forget the name of the 12 others. You need to spend some time learning their stories, who they were.’ And that’s when he kind of, [I] described it as kind of barking back. I don’t know how else to really describe it, but he says, ‘I know their stories.’ First thought was, that’s literally impossible, you know? And why are you arguing with me? And then of course he mentions his son again.

I will say, in all fairness, as soon as I got done speaking about that, he said what he said. He reached into his pocket, pulls out a card. And obviously this wasn’t set up because this was immediately after what I said. And he pulls the card out and he shows me a number. [I] didn’t know what the number meant, but after that number was a ‘+13.’ And he explained to me that he keeps this card with him every day as a reminder of everyone that’s been lost. So, there’s that. I’ll give the guy kudos. Him showing up and having to do what he had to do, given the circumstances of how all this even came into play had to be one of the hardest things in the world for him to do as well.

Biden’s son Beau served in the Iraq war and later became attorney general of Delaware. He died after battling brain cancer in 2015.

“These guys literally are gone,” Schmitz told NPR. “They have sacrificed everything for this country and please respect all of our military for what they put their rear ends on the line to do.”

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