Critics are blasting President Joe Biden for apparently looking at his watch Sunday during a solemn ceremony for the 13 U.S. soldiers killed during a suicide bomber attack in Afghanistan last week.
Biden and first lady Jill Biden were at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for a dignified transfer, a military ritual honoring the remains of fallen service members who died in combat, The New York Post reported Monday.
As flag-draped coffins were carried off the Air Force C-17 Globemaster plane, Biden placed his right hand to his chest.
At one point, Biden appeared to glance at his watch before putting his arms behind his back — a move criticized by veterans and conservatives.
“Looks like he was being inconvenienced by having to show some respect for these American Heros [sic],” tweeted Samuel Williams, a disabled U.S. Army veteran.
“It’s true. Joe Biden checked his watch during the dignified transfer of the servicemembers (killed) in Afghanistan at the airport. You can see him jerk his left hand to pull the watch out from under his sleeve, then look down at it,” columnist Nicholas Fondacaro tweeted.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., said Biden’s move made him remember a similar motion by former President George H. W. Bush.
“Many of us remember Pres Bush 41 checking his watch during a debate and how awful it looked (even though we all felt same way about that debate.) But this is shocking and will be remembered,” Huckabee tweeted.
Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, slammed Biden’s gesture in a tweet:
“Apparently our Commander-in-Chief has better things to do than honor the 13 service members who died on his watch? I’m DISGUSTED! God bless these heroes and their loved ones. They deserved better,” tweeted Jackson, a former White House physician.
Nile Gardiner, a foreign policy analyst and former aide to ex-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, tweeted: “There is nothing more important than paying your respects to America’s fallen war heroes, Mr. President.”
The 13 soldiers — 11 Marines, one Navy sailor, and one Army soldier — were killed during an ISIS-K suicide bomber attack in Kabul. They had been assisting with the evacuation of Americans and Afghans after the Taliban regained control of the country.