Gold Star Father Arrested After Criticizing Biden At SOTU

The father of a slain Marine killed during the 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan was arrested after verbally criticizing President Joe Biden during Thursday’s State of the Union address. Following the arrest of Steven Nikoui, he received a warm welcome from congressional Republicans and Gold Star families after his release.

The father of Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui shouted during the president’s speech before Congress Thursday. Kareem Nikoui was killed in an ISIS suicide bombing as U.S. forces aided the withdrawal of Americans, foreigners and Afghans from the country on Aug. 26, 2021. He was one of 13 servicemembers killed in the blast.

Nikoui was invited to the speech by Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL). When Biden argued that murder rates had fallen during his administration, Nikoui shouted the place name of his son’s death: Abbey Gate. He then shouted “Second Battalion! First Marines!”

The Gold Star father was arrested by the Capitol Police for “crowding, obstructing or incommoding,” which is a misdemeanor offense. The alleged crime is commonly tied to a $50 fine.

“Mr. Nikoui lost his son due to Joe Biden’s incompetence, and lost another son to grief over his brother being killed,” said Mast. He referred to a brother of a slain Marine who committed suicide due to his brother’s death.

“This man and his family have given America more than I could personally bear and to attack him with a BS charge of ‘demonstrating’ is a disgrace,” said Mast.

Other families of slain servicemembers welcomed the Gold Star father after the speech. Video from the event shows Nikoui receiving a warm welcome from House Republicans, as well. Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) offered to pay any fines related to the arrest.

Darin Hoover, the father of slain Marine Staff Sg. Darin “Taylor” Hoover hugged Nikoui and told him “I’m so proud of you.”

The father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, Mark Schmitz, handed Nikoui a Bible with his son’s name on it and said “Jesus would like to talk to you, sir.”

The aunt of slain Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee joked that Nikoui could be nicknamed “Convict.”