President Joe Biden was heckled by bystanders while surveying hurricane damage during a visit to Manville, New Jersey on Tuesday. One heckler shouted, “My best friend died in Afghanistan, for what?”
Washington Post journalist Zach Purser Brown shared video of the heckling comments, tweeting, “‘It’s sad that America has come to this.’ BIDEN takes a barrage of heckles from people behind a fence waving a Trump flag as he tours flood damage in the Lost Valley neighborhood of Manville, N.J.”
In the video, a woman first yells, “I’m an immigrant and I’m proud of this country. I’d give my life for this country. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves. This is a republic, not China. It’s sad. It’s sad that America has come to this. It’s sad. It’s despicable.”
Another man, apparently standing behind a fence yelled, “My best friend died in 2011 in Afghanistan, for what? For this guy to pull this shit? Leave them in ruins and leave Americans behind.”
The male heckler went on to shout to police officers walking around with Biden saying, “He will leave you behind, you guys protecting him, leave you behind.”
The man’s shouted comments about Afghanistan come days after the last U.S. troops withdrew from the country after a nearly 20-year military mission. Even before the last U.S. troops left the country, the U.S.-backed Afghan government collapsed before Taliban advances. While the last U.S. troops left the country, hundreds of Americans and thousands of vulnerable Afghan allies are still trying to leave the country.
The female heckler could also be heard yelling, “Leave no American behind.”
The male heckler then shouts a name, presumably his friend who was killed, “Buried in Arlington, 2011, December 11.”
“For what? He lost his life for what?” the man continued to shout.
Biden was met by other hecklers earlier in the day. After he landed at John F. Kennedy airport in Queens, protesters lined up along the route of his motorcade, waving signs and flags. One red, white and blue flag said, “Fuck Biden And Fuck You for voting For Him.” A school-aged boy was also photographed flashing his middle finger at the motorcade.
Biden appeared to dismiss the hecklers during remarks to the press later in the day.
“None of them were shouting or complaining. Every one of them were thanking me as if it was something special — I mean it sincerely — that I was here, and hoped that we’d be able to do something,” Biden said.
Later in his marks, Biden referenced people “on the other side of the fences” but it was unclear if he was referring to the hecklers in Manville.
“The people who stand on the other side of the fences who don’t live there, who are yelling that we’re talking about interfering with free enterprise by doing something about climate change — they don’t live there,” Biden said.