Gold Star dad Steve Nikoui arrested after heckling Biden at SOTU address

Steve Nikoui, a Gold Star father whose son was killed in the 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal, was arrested after heckling President Biden during the State of the Union address.

Nikoui, 51, shouted “Abbey Gate” repeatedly at Biden, referencing the Kabul airport attack that claimed the life of his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, along with 12 other U.S. service members.

When confronted by security and asked to stop, Nikoui refused and continued his outburst. He was subsequently escorted out of the House galleries and arrested by Capitol Police on a misdemeanor charge of crowding, obstructing or incommoding.

Nikoui attended the State of the Union as a guest of Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs oversight subcommittee. Mast explained his controversial invitation, stating he aimed “to remind President Biden of the damage he has done to national security and American families” through the Afghanistan exit.

The surprising disruption from the grieving father cast an emotional spotlight on one of the deadliest episodes of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal under Biden’s administration. Nikoui’s emotional outburst reflected lingering anguish over the lives lost during the attack.

While guardrails typically prevent such confrontations during presidential addresses, Nikoui’s spontaneous protest marked a raw breach of decorum borne out of personal tragedy and discontent over the Afghan exit’s human costs.

The arrest capped a dramatic scene that injected heartfelt outcry into the highly choreographed political spectacle of Biden’s speech to Congress and the nation.