Jen Psaki's Book Falsely Claims Biden Didn't Check Watch During Ceremony for Fallen Soldiers

Jen Psaki's new book "Say More" falsely claims President Joe Biden checked his watch only after a 2021 ceremony honoring fallen US service members in Afghanistan. Photos and eyewitness accounts contradict Psaki's account, showing Biden checked his watch multiple times during the ceremony.

author-image
Aqsa Younas Rana
New Update
Jen Psaki's Book Falsely Claims Biden Didn't Check Watch During Ceremony for Fallen Soldiers

Jen Psaki's Book Falsely Claims Biden Didn't Check Watch During Ceremony for Fallen Soldiers

Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki's new book "Say More" has come under scrutiny for a false claim regarding President Joe Biden's actions during a 2021 ceremony honoring the 13 U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan. Psaki wrote that "the president looked at his watch only after the ceremony had ended. Moments later, he and the First Lady headed toward their car." However, this account contradicts news photos and firsthand accounts from Gold Star families who were present at the ceremony.

Why this matters: This incident raises questions about the Biden administration's transparency and accountability, particularly in the context of the controversial Afghanistan withdrawal. The controversy surrounding Psaki's book adds to the ongoing scrutiny of the administration's handling of the situation and its portrayal of events to the American public.

The ceremony in question took place on August 29, 2021, at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, as the remains of the fallen soldiers killed in the Kabul airport attack were returned to the United States. Associated Press photographer Carolyn Kaster captured two photos of Biden checking his watch during the ceremony, 10 minutes apart, as the flag-draped caskets were being carried off the plane.

Shana Chappell, the mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui who was among those killed, directly contradicted Psaki's claim. In a Facebook post shortly after the ceremony, Chappell wrote, "I watched you disrespect us all 5 different times by checking your watch!!!" Other Gold Star family members also stated that Biden checked his watch multiple times as the caskets went by.

After being called out by Axios, Psaki initially declined to comment on the discrepancy. She later issued a statement saying, "The detail in a few lines of the book about the exact number of times he looked at his watch will be removed in future reprints and the ebook." Psaki claimed the anecdote was meant to illustrate "the importance of delivering feedback even when it is difficult" and not about the watch incident specifically.

The controversy surrounding Psaki's book account is part of a larger pattern of Biden administration officials trying to recast the handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal. A recent administration review of the withdrawal directed blame toward former President Donald Trump, concluding that "Biden's choices for how to execute a withdrawal from Afghanistan were severely constrained by conditions created by his predecessor." President Biden had pushed to exit Afghanistan since the Obama administration and was determined to do so when he took office in January 2021.

The false claim in Psaki's book adds to the ongoing scrutiny of the Biden administration's actions and statements surrounding the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal. As more details emerge, the White House continues to face questions about its handling of the situation and its portrayal of events to the American public.

Key Takeaways

  • Jen Psaki's book "Say More" falsely claims President Biden checked his watch after a 2021 ceremony honoring fallen US service members in Afghanistan.
  • News photos and Gold Star families contradict Psaki's account, showing Biden checked his watch during the ceremony.
  • Psaki initially declined to comment, then said the inaccurate detail would be removed from future reprints and the ebook.
  • The controversy adds to scrutiny of the Biden administration's handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and its portrayal of events.
  • The incident raises questions about the administration's transparency and accountability.