A Politico reporter has been criticized after she took to Twitter to point out that family members of a US Marine killed in the Kabul suicide bombings were not wearing masks as they toured the Capitol in Washington.
Heather Caygle, the co-congressional bureau chief of Politico, tweeted a picture of fallen US Marine Nicole Gee’s family on Thursday with the caption: ‘Masks requirement in the House. Tours not allowed. Yet here we are – group of nine, only two in masks.’
Six of the Gold Star family members were photographed facing California Rep Tom McClintock (R), who served as the group’s tour guide, in Statuary Hall.
Caygle, 32, was immediately slammed by other journalists and Twitter users alike who called her a ‘tattletale’ and said her remarks should be deleted.
She responded: ‘How does that exempt them from wearing a mask?’
Politico reporter Heather Caygle took to Twitter to point out that the Gold Star family of one of the US Marines killed in the Kabul suicide bombings was not wearing masks as they toured the Capitol Building in Washington, DC (above)
Sgt Nicole Gee was one of the 13 US troops slain in the Kabul airport blast on August 26. She became nationally known after her death because of a photo she posted to social media that showed her holding an Afghan baby (above)
‘This may be the most pitiful tweet I’ve seen on this app,’ a user replied, while another noted that a tour of the Capitol Building ‘is just about the least the government can do’ for the grieving family.
One user crowed: ‘The irony that this Marine family [sic] gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect your rights to being able to freely post this.’
‘A reporter using their position to publicly shame a family that has been through so much is in poor taste,’ another added.
Other replies noted that ‘this tweet isn’t going to age well’ and commented that it was ‘very distasteful’.
Gee, 23, was a maintenance technician with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit when she was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan.
Commenters on the social media site called her a ‘tattletale’ and said her remarks should be deleted. She responded: ‘How does that exempt them from wearing a mask?’
Heather Caygle (pictured), the co-congressional bureau chief of Politico, tweeted the photo and received immediate backlash from fellow reporters and Twitter users alike
Gee, from Roseville, California, was killed on August 26 in a suicide bombing during the chaotic evacuation at Kabul airport.
A week before the blast she was pictured cradling a baby in her arms. She posted the photo, which later became nationally known, on Instagram and wrote: ‘I love my job.’
Sgt. Mallory Harrison, who lived with Gee for three years and called her a ‘sister forever’ and best friend, wrote about the magnitude of her loss.
‘I can’t quite describe the feeling I get when I force myself to come back to reality & think about how I´m never going to see her again,’ Harrison wrote on Facebook.
‘How her last breath was taken doing what she loved – helping people. … Then there was an explosion. And just like that, she’s gone.’
Gee was honored by loved ones in her hometown of Sacramento, California, last month. People from the fallen soldier’s community lined the streets holding American flags as Gee was remembered as a ‘hometown hero’
Harrison said her generation of Marines hears war stories from veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts but they seem distant amid boring deployments until ‘the peaceful float you were on turns into … your friends never coming home’.
Gee’s car was still parked in a lot at Camp Lejeune when she died and Harrison mused about all the Marines who walked past it while she was overseas.
‘Some of them knew her. Some of them didn’t,’ she penned. ‘They all walked past it. The war stories, the losses, the flag-draped coffins, the KIA bracelets & the heartbreak. It’s not so distant anymore.’
Last month Gee was honored by her community. A large crowd lined the streets of her hometown of Sacramento with American flags in hand as the body of the fallen Gold Star Marine processed.
The procession allowed her community to pay their respects to Gee and her family ahead of her funeral, which took place the day after.
Gee, who was one of the 13 US troops slain in the Kabul suicide bombings, is remembered as a ‘hometown hero’.
Like the others killed in the attack, Gee has been posthumously awarded a Purple Heart, which is the oldest US military award still given to American service members.