President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden paid an evening visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington Thursday, one week after the ISIS-K terror attack at Kabul’s international airport that killed 13 US service members and injured 20 more.
The president’s motorcade arrived at the Bethesda, Md. hospital just before 8 p.m. after making the short drive from the White House. The White House press office put out a one-line statement saying that the Bidens were visiting “wounded warriors.”
The Marine Corps Times reported Wednesday that 15 Marines who were injured in the blast outside the Abbey Gate at Hamid Karzai International Airport were being treated at Walter Reed. Maj. James Stenger, a spokesman for the Corps, told the outlet that one of the injured Marines was in critical condition, three were in serious condition, and the other 11 were in stable condition.
The wounded service members were initially flown to Germany for treatment at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the largest American military hospital on foreign soil, before being sent on to the US for further care.
Landstuhl commander Col. Andrew Landers told Military.com that most of the wounded were hit by shrapnel or suffered fractures and penetration injuries “consistent with what you see in any type of blast.” Air Force physician Col. Peter Kim, Landstuhl’s chief medical officer, told the outlet that some service members suffered gunshot wounds.
The suicide bomb blast killed 11 US Marines, a Navy corpsman and an Army soldier.
On Sunday, Biden went to Dover Air Force Base in his home state of Delaware to take part in the dignified transfer ceremony for the 13 service members who died. Before the event, the president had a tense meeting with family members of the fallen.
“He talked a bit more about his own son [Beau Biden] than he did my son,” Mark Schmitz, whose son Jared died in the blast, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Monday night. “And that didn’t sit well with me.”
“When he just kept talking about his son so much, it was just — my interest was lost in that. I was more focused on my own son than what happened with him and his son,” Schmitz told the Washington Post. “I’m not trying to insult the president, but it just didn’t seem that appropriate to spend that much time on his own son.”
Roice McCollum, whose brother Rylee was another victim of the attack, told the paper that Rylee’s pregnant widow, Jiennah, felt the president showed “total disregard to the loss of our Marine — our brother, son, husband, and father” when Biden spoke to her at Dover.
“You can’t f— up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry,” Roice told the Washington Post. “This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands, the thousands of Afghans who will suffer and be tortured is a direct result of his incompetence.”
The president was also criticized for checking his watch during the ceremony, something Roice McCollum said Biden also did while talking to her widowed sister-in-law.