Monday, May 20

Gold Star dad, guest of US Rep. Brian Mast, arrested during State of the Union address

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., said his guest at Thursday night’s State of the Union address was escorted out of the Capitol and arrested.

The Treasure Coast lawmaker’s guest was Steve Nikoui, who is the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, a service member killed during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.

During President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, Steve Nikoui stood up and yelled out, “Abbey Gate,” as well as the name of his son after Biden said, “America is safer today than the year I took office.”

Shortly after, the Gold Star father was escorted out of the House gallery and detained. 

Mast said he joined Steve Nikoui during his interrogation at the United States Capitol Police headquarters past midnight.

Steve Nikoui faces a misdemeanor charge for interrupting the speech after Capitol Police had warned him to stop, according to the New York Times.

The report said the misdemeanor charge of illegally disrupting Congress carries a $50 fine. It is typically resolved without going to court.

“Mr. Nikoui lost his son due to Joe Biden’s incompetence, and lost another son to grief over his brother being killed,” Mast said in a Friday statement. “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.”

Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui was deployed to Afghanistan where he participated in Operation Allies Refuge to evacuate U.S. citizens, American allies and others at risk. He was killed in action along with 10 other Marines, one Army soldier and one Navy corpsman on Aug. 26, 2021.

Mast said that Steve Nikoui and his wife, Shana Chappell, have been vocal critics of Biden’s decisions leading up to the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The 13 service members killed in the Kabul attack were later honored with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Biden has defended the withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying he “was not going to extend this forever war.”

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