Psaki Responds To Criticism In Her New Book

Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who recently published her memoir “Say More: Lessons from Work, the White House, and the World,” is facing backlash for her comments about the ceremony for soldiers killed during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to an exclusive report from Axios, Psaki claims that President Biden never looked at his watch during the ceremony, even though news photos and witness accounts suggest otherwise.

The event, held on August 29, 2021, saw the bodies of 13 American service members killed in the Kabul explosion being returned to the U.S. Many family members of the fallen soldiers have consistently claimed that Biden checked his watch multiple times during the dignified transfer.

Mark Schmitz, father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, even went as far as to say he wanted to “shout out, ‘It’s two f***ing thirty, asshole.'” The day after the ceremony, Shana Chappell, mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, wrote on Facebook that she witnessed Biden disrespecting the families by checking his watch over and over again.

Psaki’s book contradicts these accounts, saying that the Gold Star families and their supporters used the watch-checking detail to spread “misinformation” and make “him [Biden] appear insensitive.” She also claims that the images circulating online were used to make Biden appear “insensitive, concerned only about how much time had passed.” Despite evidence to the contrary, Psaki dismisses any wrongdoing on Biden’s part and instead calls out the families for spreading false information.

Following the release of the Axios report, Psaki issued a statement saying that the details about the watch-checking will be removed from future reprints of her book and the ebook. She also clarified that her book’s main focus is not on this specific incident, but rather on the importance of delivering difficult feedback. She defends her account as being based on her own experience of giving feedback to Biden, claiming that his “own story of loss was not well received by the families who were grieving their sons and daughters.”

This is not the first time that critics have accused the administration of downplaying or misrepresenting controversial events from the Afghanistan withdrawal. The false narrative put forth by Psaki in her book is perceived as an attempt to defend Biden and make him appear more sympathetic to the families of the fallen soldiers.

Psaki’s claim that her book’s focus is on the importance of giving feedback in difficult situations has also been met with criticism, with some calling it a cheap ploy to shift the focus away from the actual incident.

The conflicting accounts of the ceremony have caused outrage among Gold Star families and their supporters. Many have taken to social media to express their disappointment and disgust with Psaki’s disregard for their firsthand experiences.

Mark Schmitz has also promised to take legal action against Psaki and her publisher, saying that “what she wrote was absolutely disgusting and clearly for political and financial gain at the expense of grieving Gold Star families.” It is not yet clear what legal action will be taken, but Schmitz is determined to hold Psaki accountable for her statements.

Some have pointed out that this incident is not just about the watch-checking, but rather about the overall handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and the lack of accountability on the part of the Biden administration. The families of the fallen soldiers deserve to have their voices heard and their experiences acknowledged, rather than being dismissed as spreaders of “misinformation” by Psaki. The timing of Psaki’s book release, just a few weeks before the 2024 election, also raises suspicions about the true intentions behind this revisionist account.


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