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Video: GOP demands charges against Gold Star Father be dismissed

U.S. President Joe Biden discusses the Congressional stopgap government funding bill to avert an immediate government shutdown in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
March 18, 2024

Republican lawmakers are demanding the dismissal of the charges against a Gold Star father for interrupting President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address last Thursday be dismissed.

Steve Nikoui was recently arrested following his interruption of Biden’s State of the Union address. Nikoui’s son, Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, was one of 13 U.S. service members killed by a suicide bomber during the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.

Politico shared a video of the Gold Star father’s arrest on X, formerly Twitter. Immediately following Biden’s statement that America was safer since he took office, Nikoui stood up, shouting, “Remember Abbey Gate!” and “United States Marines!”

Following Nikoui’s arrest, Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) shared his support of the Gold Star father on X and explained that Nikoui was at the State of the Union as his guest. 

Mast also issued a press release condemning Nikoui’s arrest and revealing that Nikoui’s other child committed suicide in grief over his brother.

“Mr. Nikoui lost his son due to Joe Biden’s incompetence, and lost another son to grief over his brother being killed,” Mast wrote.  “This man and his family have given America more than I could personally bear and to attack him with a BS charge of ‘demonstrating’ is a disgrace.”

Mast’s support of Nikoui has been echoed by Republican Representatives Mike Waltz (Fla.) and Darrell Issa (Calif.). While many in the GOP have called for charges against Nikoui to be dropped, condemnation of the events has been expressed by both political parties.

Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips, a Gold Star family member who recently endorsed Biden’s presidential bid, called out the perceived double standards of the Gold Star father’s arrest during Thursday’s State of the Union.

“No one should interrupt a State of the Union Address, but if Majorie Taylor Greene wasn’t arrested for her outbursts, why should he?” Phillips wrote, referring to Greene’s interruption of the president on the same day. 

READ MORE: Video/Pic: Gold Star dad arrested at Biden’s State of the Union

According to BBC News, Greene gave Biden a pin while saying, “Laken Riley. Say her name, Mr. President,” before his speech. During the speech, Greene shouted, “What about Laken Riley?”

Nikoui, who was released on bail, has been charged with D.C. Code § 22–1307 for “Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding.”

Nikoui has been active in seeking answers and consequences for the deaths of service members during the Afghanistan withdrawal, providing his statement at a 2023 roundtable discussion with the House Foreign Affairs Committee, according to C-Span.