“Gross.” “Disgusting.” “Without honor.” These are the descriptions families of fallen soldiers are employing to describe how former President Donald Trump is using the recent deaths at Kabul’s airport as a prop in his political and fundraising machine. On two separate occasions last week, Trump and his office blasted out written statements highlighting the anger and grief of two mothers who lost their sons in the Aug. 26 suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, promoting their deaths as an opportunity to take a swing at President Joe Biden. In the first statement, he issued a curt message thanking Shana Chappell—who lost her 20-year-old son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui—and included her Facebook post in which she refers to Trump as “my president… the real president of the United States of America.” In the second statement, Trump thanked Kathy McCollum—whose 20-year-old son, Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, left behind a pregnant wife. Below that, he included a statement from her in which she called Biden a “corrupt pseudo president” and promised to “always fight for the Trump administration just as my son did.” In several recent media interviews, some family of the fallen have heaped praise on Trump for his outreach, or have bashed Biden as incompetent—if not worse. Both statements came from his “Save America” political action committee, which continues to function as his fundraising juggernaut during Trump’s post-presidency. The statements also heavily focus on how allegedly competent Trump was as president and why he should be back in the White House. In recent weeks, Trump and Republicans have aggressively fundraised off the Afghanistan withdrawal, and Trump has raised money from supporters by tying his anti-democratic lies about the 2020 election to his calls for Biden to “RESIGN” over the pullout. The Daily Beast spoke to nine people who have lost loved ones during the Global War on Terror over the last two decades. Nearly all expressed extreme distaste for what they considered Trump’s opportunism—and shared concern about the vulnerability of these newly grieving parents and siblings who have just joined the tight-knit community of “Gold Star families” who have lost an immediate family member in military service. “It’s reprehensible. It follows along with what he did as president, his pattern of using anything, anybody, to his own personal benefit,” said Derek Davey, whose son Seamus joined the U.S. Marine Corps and died in Iraq in 2005. “He was always the flag-waver, but the things he said, he did… he’s had very little regard for Gold Star families and those who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty. I think it’s notable he’s only mentioning the ones who support him,” Davey, who was also a Marine, said. Davey and others noted that the two grieving mothers Trump was parading out have justified anger. “They’re as mad at Biden as I was at George Bush. I had my reasons, and they have their reasons,” he said. But Davey and others expressed concern that these families are being preyed upon for a politician’s personal benefit. “She had every right to feel however she feels. I do agree with that. But to use it as a campaign tactic, to me it feels dirty,” said Seana Arrechaga. “I am disgusted by it. Absolutely disgusted by it.” For nearly a decade, Arrechaga has battled the attempt to politicize her own husband’s death. On social media, people often add political commentary when they share an image that’s dear to her, in which she is holding the gloved hand of her dead husband as he lies in an open, flag-draped casket. Army Sgt. First Class Ofren Arrechaga was killed during the surge in 2011 in Afghanistan. “You’ve seen the blonde lady standing over the casket, saying, ‘This is why we stand for the flag.’ They use my dead husband to further their politics. And I hate it. He didn’t fight and die so people could cherry-pick the rights he died for. He died for all our rights. Kneeling in protest? He died for that right as well,” she said. Another widow, who also lost her husband in Afghanistan in 2011 and preferred to remain anonymous, said: “Of course it makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s all gross. All of it.” Liz Harrington, a spokesperson for Trump, issued this statement in response to The Daily Beast: "President Trump respects and honors our fallen troops, and has spoken to several family members of the warriors who died in the recent preventable attack in Afghanistan. He loves them, loves their families, and will always be there for them." Harrington also brought up how Biden, during the arrival of the 13 service members’ flag-draped caskets at Dover Air Force Base on Aug. 29, was seen repeatedly glancing at his wrist throughout the ceremony. “Nothing could be more offensive than Joe Biden checking his watch multiple times during the dignified transfer,” she stated. However, some observers have noted that Biden may have been making quick looks at the ros . . . read the full article here.