The father of a Utah Marine killed in Afghanistan received an unexpected call last week.
Darin Hoover instantly recognized the voice of former President Donald Trump when he answered his cellphone.
“It was just very cordial, very understanding. He was awesome,” Hoover told the Washington Post. “He was just talking about the finest of the finest. He said he heard and saw everything that we had said, and he offered his condolences several times, and how sorry he was.”
Hoover traveled to Dover Air Force Base on Aug. 29 to receive the casket of Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, who died along with 12 other U.S. service members in a suicide bombing outside the airport in Kabul. They were providing security as people tried to flee the country amid the U.S. withdrawal and Taliban takeover.
Like several other families, Darin Hoover declined to meet with President Joe Biden when he attempted to console them as the bodies arrived at the base, according to the Post.
Asked about why he opted not to meet with the current president, he said, “I really don’t want to get into the political aspect of it. This is about our son. This is all about the sacrifice that our sons and daughters gave.”
“We felt that was what Taylor would have wanted,” Darin Hoover added.
Family members of at least six of the 13 U.S. service members killed in the Aug. 26 attack in Kabul have been publicly critical of Biden. Some of those who met with the president said they were put off by the amount of time he spent talking about his son Beau, who served in Iraq and later died of brain cancer, according to the Post.
Darin Hoover said his family is in the process of obtaining permission to bury their son in Arlington National Cemetery.
In the call with Trump, he said, they invited him to attend the funeral when they could set a date.
“He said he would if he could,” Hoover said.
Trump has made several calls over the past week to some family members of the fallen service members. Several have invited him to attend the funerals, and he has suggested he may try to do so.
Taylor Hoover, 31, joined the Marines at age 19. Darin Hoover said earlier that his son was 11 years old when terrorists attacked New York and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001. From that moment on, Taylor knew he wanted to serve.
“He loved his country,” Darin Hoover said. “It meant more to him than anything else, besides his family.”
Taylor Hoover was on his third deployment to Afghanistan when he died.