Gold Star mother Cheryl Rex and injured Marine Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews shared corresponding accounts of their experiences with President Joe Biden, both expressing disappointment with his tendency to focus conversations on himself and his deceased son, Beau Biden.
Sgt. Vargas-Andrews, who was injured in the suicide bombing at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 16, 2021 – an attack that also claimed the life of Rex's son, LCPL Dylan Merola, along with 12 other American service members – recounted how Biden paid him a visit in the hospital as he was healing from the attack.
Vargas-Andrews described the situation, explaining that he had lost his right arm and his left was all but immobilized, with just the tips of his fingers sticking out. Biden reportedly tried to shake the hand of the missing arm, but subsequently chose to grab Vargas-Andrews exposed fingers like he was shaking his hand.
“I was like, ok, that’s weird,” Vargas-Andrews said. “And, you know, almost immediately starts talking, like, about how their son served in the military. Doesn’t say anything about what happened, just talking about how their son served in the military.”
Vargas-Andrews recounted that at that point, his mother was "furious," and informed the president and his accompanying staff that they were responsible for taking care of her son "for the rest of his f*cking life."
He described how the conversation took an even more bizarre turn following that moment. He explained that Biden leaned over to speak to him and inquired, "What do you want?"
“I was confused. I just got blown up, saw my f*cking friends die next to me, I just want to be myself,” Vargas-Andrews recalled, saying that his answer appeared to baffle Biden. The remainder of the conversation — which he said was brief — avoided any mention of the explosion that nearly ended his life.
Rex, who addressed a forum in California on Tuesday for the families of those who lost their lives during the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan under the Biden administration, shared an experience with the Commander in Chief that was strikingly similar.
“When Joe Biden, our elected president, came into the room — when he approached me — 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,'” she recalled.
“My heart started beating faster, and I started shaking, knowing that their son died from cancer and that they were able to be by his side,” she added. “Also wondering how someone could honestly … sorry … be so heartless to say he knew how I felt a little over 24 hours in learning of my son’s death.”
Rex continued, stating that following that encounter, there was no further communication from President Biden, and that she received no sign that he had ever acknowledged her son's death or even mentioned his name after he made the ultimate sacrifice.
Rex perceives this lack of acknowledgment as indicative of what she sees as a failure of leadership during the final days in Afghanistan.