The father and brother of Chris Kyle are saying they were not invited to a ceremony held Wednesday by Gov. Greg Abbott to honor the late Iraq War veteran of American Sniper fame.
On Thursday, both relatives said they were excluded from the event outside the Governor's Mansion, where Abbott posthumously awarded the Texas Legislative Medal of Honor to Kyle. Taya Kyle, Chris Kyle's widow, accepted the accolade on his behalf at the ceremony.
"We as the Kyle family (my parents, my wife and our kids) knew nothing about this and were not invited to the ceremony," Jeff Kyle, Chris Kyle's brother, wrote on Facebook. "It's kinda funny how the family isn't asked to be involved!"
Wayne Kyle, Chris Kyle's father, went further on Facebook, saying the Wednesday ceremony was "not the first time that our Governor has elected to exclude Chris's family from anything important regarding his accomplishments or who he was."
Abbott's office did not respond Thursday and Friday to requests for comment on the family's claims. A spokesman for Taya Kyle deferred comment to the Kyle family.
Jeff Kyle declined to elaborate Thursday on his Facebook post but reiterated in an email that the family "would have loved to be there and be invited." Wayne Kyle said Friday he would let his Facebook post speak for itself.
During his first year in office, Abbott has made a point of recognizing the late sniper, declaring Feb. 2 Chris Kyle Day and signing a bill that named part of a highway after him. The governor has also demonstrated an interest in receiving the most credit for honoring Kyle, according to emails released this year that show him grappling with how to announce the commemorative day.
Kyle, who has been widely credited as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, was the subject of American Sniper, a 2014 movie that chronicled his service and return home. Wayne Kyle has expressed disapproval with how the film portrayed some parts of Chris Kyle's life.