Some of the families of the 13 American service members killed in a blast at Kabul's airport last month have refused to speak to President Biden—but they have welcomed calls from former President Trump. Trump has reached out to several families over the last week and some of them have invited him to attend the funerals of their loved ones, the Washington Post reports. Darin Hoover, whose son, Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, was killed in the blast, says he declined to meet Biden and received an unexpected call from Trump last week. "It was just very cordial, very understanding. He was awesome,” Hoover says. He adds that Trump told him he would attend the funeral "if he could."
Relatives of at least six service members have publicly criticized Biden, with some describing the president as illegitimate. "That feckless, dementia-ridden piece of crap just sent my son to die," Kathy McCollum, mother of 20-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, told a radio show. Paula Knauss, mother of Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, says she is angry about Biden's handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, but she hasn't heard from him or Trump. "I don’t care what side of the ring they stand on," she says. "Good decision-making must be made by our leaders." The Post notes that unlike his predecessor, Biden hasn't pushed back against criticism from Gold Star families.
Advisers say Trump—who had called for Biden to withdraw troops even earlier—has taken a very strong interest in details of the withdrawal. "It is really the only topic I’ve seen him animated about other than the election," one adviser tells the Post. The former president and his team have issued dozens of statements on the withdrawal, including one last week in which he said that if the Taliban fails to return US military equipment, "we should either go in with unequivocal Military force and get it, or at least bomb the hell out of it," Politico reports. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)