A Gold Star mom sobbed before members of Congress on Monday as she accused the Biden administration of lying to her about the circumstances of her Marine son’s death in Afghanistan in August 2021.
Kelly Barnett, whose son Staff Sgt. Darin Taylor Hoover, was one of 13 U.S. servicemembers killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul during the military’s evacuation two summers ago, was the first of several relatives to speak at a Congressional forum held by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. It’s the first time the relatives of all 13 fallen troops are together to speak at a public event.
‘I’m going to be brave and in tell you about my kid. He’s an amazing kid. And I want you to know that I am not a victim. We’re not victims. We’re parents to some mighty heroes. I want you to know that,’ Barnett said.
She said her son’s concern about the controversial withdrawal ‘began the moment that he landed’ there for his final deployment. He saw ‘chaos, no communication, lack of leadership,’ she said.
Barnett’s voice, full of emotion, broke when she said her son was told to ‘clean up the airport’ because ‘we can’t leave it dirty for the Taliban.’
‘What kind of disrespect? What kind of hatred for our military? What kind of mess? Confusion. Deceit. Lost. Angry. Sad. Heartbroken and disgusted. These are the feelings that the service members felt. And are still feeling. These are the feelings I’m feeling,’ she cried.
The families of the fallen were subsequently ‘told lies, given incomplete reports, incorrect reports, total disrespect,’ the grieving mother said.
‘I was told to my face, he died on impact. That’s not true. The only reason that I know this is because witnesses told me the truth,’ Barnett claimed. ‘I was lied to and basically told to shut up.’
‘He lived for a little while…he was giving out his ammo. He tied a tourniquet at around his leg. I don’t understand the reasoning of that lie. It makes no sense other than the fact that, did they really even do an investigation? Did they talk to witnesses? I don’t know.’
Taylor’s father Darren Hoover later angrily called on President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milley to resign.
To Biden directly, Hoover said, ‘Be a grown a** man. Admit to your mistakes. Learn from them so that this doesn’t happen ever, ever again.’
‘You all need to resign immediately. Our sons, daughters have more integrity in their little toes than every one of them combined,’ he added.
A Defense Department spokesperson’s statement on the Gold Star families’ testimony said, ‘The Department of Defense expresses our deepest condolences to the Gold Star Families who lost loved ones during the tragic bombing at Abbey Gate. We are forever grateful for their service, sacrifice, and committed efforts during the evacuation operations. We also commend the historic and monumental efforts of all our service men and women who served honorably during the withdrawal period from Afghanistan.’