Gold Star Father Arrested After Heckling Biden at State of the Union

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March 8, 2024

Capitol Police arrested the father of a Marine who died in the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport in 2021 after he heckled President Joe Biden at Thursday night's State of the Union.

"Abbey Gate, Abbey Gate," yelled Steve Nikoui, father of the late Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, referencing the site of the explosion that killed his son, along with 12 other service members, the New York Times reported.

Police told the Times that they warned the elder Nikoui, a guest of Rep. Brian Mast (R., Fla.), to stop and removed him from the gallery when he did not.

"This is a routine charge on Capitol Hill," the Capitol Police statement read. "People who illegally demonstrate/disrupt Congress typically are released after they pay a $50 fine, so the misdemeanor charge is resolved without going to court."

After police removed Nikoui, Mast affirmed his actions in an X post.

"For the last three SOTU speeches, Joe Biden REFUSED to say the names of the 13 U.S. servicemembers who were killed by his disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal," Mast wrote. "I couldn’t support this effort more. Say their names!"

Families of the troops who died during the Biden administration's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan have long criticized the president since the blast. Christy Shamblin—the mother-in-law of Marine sergeant Nicole Gee, another of the 13 service members who fell at Abbey Gate—told CNN Thursday that Biden did not reach out to her family or respond to their requests for a meeting.