Warriors stood and sat at attention while the Commander-in-Chief read remarks from a teleprompter on Monday, with the snow-capped Chugach mountain range in the background at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
President Joe Biden read words from a screen pertaining to heroism and history to an audience that included U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Gov. Mike Dunleavy, and Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola. Also attending and greeting the president’s arrival was Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson.
Biden’s visit included stopping for jet fuel and observing the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. He is returning from a visit to Vietnam.
None of the veterans from the Alaska House of Representatives were invited, but invitations were sent to Democrat Party, non-military elected representatives, such as Rep. Jesse Kiehl of Juneau, Cliff Groh of Anchorage, and Ashley Carrick of Fairbanks. Veteran legislators Will Stapp, Stanley Wright, Laddie Shaw, Kevin McCabe, Ben Carpenter, and Jamie Allard were snubbed by the White House. All are Republicans. It’s unclear if Rep. Andrew Gray, a Democrat, received an invitation; he serves in the Army National Guard.
One legislator who is a veteran said he would not have attended anyway, after watching Biden’s speech in Vietnam, which was marked by incoherence, and the statement that he was just following orders from his staff.