Psaki Retracts Lie About Biden Not Checking Watch During Dignified Transfer

Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has retracted a lie told in her book regarding President Joe Biden’s conduct during a ceremony honoring 13 military personnel killed during his botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Psaki, who currently serves as a political commentator on MSNBC, admitted that a detail in her book, “Say More,” claiming that Biden did not check his watch during the ceremony, was incorrect. She stated that future editions of the book would be revised to remove this inaccuracy, noting that the “detail in a few lines of the book about the exact number of times he looked at his watch will be removed in future reprints and the book.”

The controversy arose in August 2021 when Biden was photographed appearing to check his watch while the bodies of the fallen soldiers were being transferred at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The image sparked outrage, with many criticizing Biden for what they perceived as a lack of respect for the fallen soldiers and their families.

Psaki defended Biden against questions about the incident from reporters, asserting that he checked his watch only after the ceremony had concluded and the bodies of the fallen soldiers were being transferred. She even accused the media of using the incident to portray Biden in a negative light.

“One question on the dignified transfer, and then I want to get to Afghanistan,” Fox News correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked the then-press secretary. “Some of the Gold Star families have criticized the President — President’s conduct at the dignified transfer. There was a father of one Marine who said that the President appeared to be checking his watch every time a flag-draped transfer case came out of the plane. And a sister of another Marine said that it felt like a fake and scripted apology. Was the President looking at his watch? And does he have a message to those people who felt that they were offended?”

“Well, I would say his message to all of the family members who were there, those who were not even in attendance is that he is grateful to their sons and daughters, the sacrifice they made to the country; that he knows firsthand what it’s like to lose a child and the fact that no one can tell you anything or say anything — or there’s no words that are going to fill that hole that is left by that,” Psaki responded.

“He’s not going to speak to and I’m not going to speak to the private conversations,” she continued. “Of course, they have the right to convey whatever they would like. But I will tell you, from spending a lot of time with him over the past couple of days, that he was deeply impacted by these family members who he met just two days ago; that he talks about them frequently in meetings and the incredible service and sacrifice of their sons and daughters. I — that is not going to change their suffering, but I wanted to convey that still.”

Despite the controversy surrounding the watch-checking incident, Biden praised the bravery and sacrifice of the servicemen and women, stating that they had died for a “worthy mission.” However, his administration continues to face scrutiny over its handling of the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, which culminated in the Taliban’s takeover of the country.