Phillips defends father of Marine killed in Afghanistan for State of the Union outburst

Phillips defends father of Marine killed in Afghanistan for State of the Union outburst

Former Democratic presidential primary candidate Rep. Dean Phillips (Minn.) defended the father of a Marine killed in Afghanistan who shouted at President Biden and was arrested during the State of the Union address Thursday.

“As a Gold Star Son myself, I can only imagine the pain he has felt since losing his son in Afghanistan,” Phillips said Friday in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, in response to a post by The Hill on the incident.

“No one should interrupt a State of the Union Address, but if Marjorie Taylor Greene wasn’t arrested for her outbursts, why should he?” Phillips continued.

Steven Nikoui, whose son died during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, was arrested for disrupting the president’s address around 10:15 p.m. EST, U.S. Capitol Police confirmed.

“Our officers warned him to stop and when he did not, the man was removed from the House Galleries,” Capitol Police said in a statement.

According to Capitol Police, Nikoui was arrested for crowding, obstructing or incommoding. He had been invited to the State of the Union by Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), with the Florida Republican posting online before the address that he was “honored” to have Nikoui as his guest.

“He is the father of Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, who was KIA due to Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Mast said. “Joe Biden may try to turn the page on Afghanistan after his incompetence cost American lives, but NOT ON MY WATCH.”

When Biden entered the chamber for his address, he passed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat and handed him a pin that read “say her name Laken Riley,” in reference to a Georgia college student authorities say was killed by a man who crossed the border illegally.

During Biden’s speech, Greene yelled, “It’s about Laken Riley,” and other Republicans shouted, “Say her name.” Biden then held up the pin and responded to Greene.

“Laken Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal,” he said. “To her parents, I say my heart goes out to you. Having lost children myself, I understand.”

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