OAN’s Roy Francis
4:42 PM – Tuesday, August 8, 2023
A marine who was injured in the suicide bombing at Kabul airport during the withdrawal from Afghanistan recounted the weird visit that President Joe Biden paid him while he was in the hospital recovering.
Marine Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews, a marine sniper, was severely injured during the United States military’s evacuation from Afghanistan. Vargas-Andrews lost an and a leg during the suicide bombing at Abbey gate that killed 13 American service members, 169 Afghan civilians, with at least 150 others injured, including 18 U.S. military members.
While recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he said that he had been visited by several high-ranking U.S. military officials who wanted to participate in a “photo op” with him. One of the people that he was visited by was President Biden.
During the “Shawn Ryan Show” the Marine described the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as his meeting with the president.
Before talking about his meeting with Biden, Vargas-Andrews described the disastrous events that led to the suicide bombing at Abbey gate at the Kabul airport.
He recounted how he had been stationed to oversee the evacuation of the refugees at Abbey gate. He said that his unit had received warning of a possible suicide bomber heading towards the gate and that they were given the description of the individual.
The Marine Sgt. said that him and his sniper both spotted the individual approaching the gate, and they had asked for permission to open fire several times but were denied each time. Even after confirming that the individual they had seen was the actual target.
“I requested engagement authority while my team leader was ready on the M110 semi-automatic sniper system. The response: leadership did not have the engagement authority for us. Do not engage,” Vargas-Andrews said in his testimony before Congress in March. “We asked him if we could shoot. Our battalion commander said, and I quote, ‘I don’t know.’”
He said that the target then dropped out of sight and they lost him in the crowd. Shortly after they lost sight of the individual, the explosion went off.
The explosion knocked the marine 12 feet back and onto the ground. As a result of the explosion, he lost an arm and a leg and required around 50 surgeries.
“I’m thrown 12 feet onto the ground, but instantly knew what had happened. I opened my eyes to marines dead or unconscious lying around me,” Vargas-Andrews had testified while fighting back tears.
While he was recovering at the hospital, Vargas-Andrews was asked by generals if he wanted to meet the president so he could be thanked for his service. He said he welcomed the idea but told the doctors he wanted to be off the medication during the meeting so he could be fully coherent during the meeting.
The marine was then told that the president would be arriving in “about an hour” to meet with him.
“Well, one hour goes by. Nothing. Two hours go by. Nothing,” he said, noting that he continued to hold off on taking his medication. “Three hours go by, and it’s like four hours at this point. My mom’s furious. She’s like, ‘What the f—? Where is this guy?’”
Then after around four hours, Secret Service agents began arriving to secure the hospital. When they finally arrived, he said that he was confused because he could not remember who the president was.
“I had no idea who the president was. I didn’t think it was Trump. I didn’t think it was Biden. My brain couldn’t make the connection,” he said.
He said he asked for clarification from his mother, then soon after the president arrived.
“Two minutes later, he walks in with Jill Biden and their little entourage of people and like a photographer,” he recalled. “Right away, I remember him coming up to me trying to shake my hand, shake my right hand, and I look at him, and I’m like, ‘I don’t have an arm.’ My left arm is in this big a– cast with this giant orange f—ing foam block around it. I’m completely immobile. All I can do is move my head. He says, ‘Oh,’ and kind of stands up and then goes over to reach for my fingers … and just like grabs my fingers. Doesn’t greet me or anything, just grabbed my fingers. I was like, ‘OK, that’s weird.’”
Vargas-Andrews said that President Biden then started talking about his son and his son’s service in the military without mentioning the recent events or what had happened in Afghanistan.
“My mom’s furious at this point and they’re like taking pictures and stuff,” he said.
His mother made it clear to everyone present, including the president, that he should be taken care of by the government “for the rest of his life.”
“She said that, and I’m sitting there, and he comes over to me, he leans over to me” he said. “And he’s like, ‘What do you want?’”
“I’m just like confused. I just got blown up. I just saw my f—ing friends die next to me. I’m like, ‘I just want to be myself,’” Vargas-Andrews said after the president repeated his question of “What do you want?”
“He’s like, ‘Huh,’ and my mom’s furious, and she’s like, ‘He just wants to be himself. He just wants to be him,’” he said. “He goes, ‘Oh, okay,’ and they just continue to talk about everything but what just happened. They just ushered him out of the room. He didn’t know what to say. And that was that.”
Vargas-Andrews said that his mother had tried to reach out to the administration later on to try and pass legislation that would help future military members who get injured and their families, but that she was just “brushed off.”
Vargas-Andrews said they “pretended like they were connecting her to the right individuals and didn’t f—ing help her at all.”
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