The President, in a call to a grieving Gold Star widow, stunned her with these words: “He knew what he signed up for … but when it happens, it hurts anyway.” Those were cold and brutishly callous words. It was Trump who said them in October 2017, not Biden last week. Back then, the only GOP outrage expressed was against the widow and the congresswoman who made it public. The responsibility for his death, Trump implied, was the dead man’s. Not his, of course. And should Trump have accepted any blame? He would have scoffed at the very thought. “Not my fault!”

That was then, this is now. Nearly two dozen Republican Senators and Representatives have demanded President Biden’s resignation or removal because of the tragic deaths of 13 of our service members, among so many others both killed and wounded. Though Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois claims he dodged it, the President repeatedly said he takes “full responsibility” for what happened in Kabul, including the loss of those precious lives. He didn’t shift responsibility to them or to anyone else. And as for blame, ISIS-K bears it. In fact, they proudly and loudly claim it. 

The President’s attackers make no mention of the hordes of Afghans desperate to escape the Taliban who caused the chaos at the airport. They had been left defenseless by a government and a military that simply vanished overnight. The blame is really theirs. Nor do the critics give so much as a passing nod to the unprecedented success of the evacuation of great numbers, now more than 100,000 and counting, mostly on American planes, on orders from the President. Why isn’t that signal achievement acknowledged?

What a stark contrast in how the President is treated! Republicans demanded respect for the presidency when Trump was in office, insisting that we must present a united American front on the world stage. Now that Biden is there, they grasp at this despicable terror attack to reverse course totally. The sad result? They give fodder to our foreign adversaries, and fire up right-wing militants and terrorists within.

They have no shame. 

Fred Reklau

Oak Park

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