The father of the Navy SEAL killed in the Yemen counterterror raid last month said he refused to meet with President Trump when he came to pay respects at Dover Air Force Base.
“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” Bill Owens, the father of William “Ryan” Owens, told the Miami Herald in an interview.
Owens died and four other Americans were wounded in the raid that killed 14 al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula militants one week after Trump took office.
Trump and daughter Ivanka went to Dover to witness the arrival of Owens’ body. His father told the Herald that when he was informed Trump was on his way, he said, “I’m sorry, I don’t want to see him … I told them I don’t want to meet the president.”
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At the time, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump “offered his sincerest condolences to Officer Owens’ wife, his father and their three children.”
The White House’s first characterization of the Yemen raid as a “success” has come under criticism, including by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
“I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success,” McCain said a statement earlier this month.
Spicer called McCain’s statement “a disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens.”
“I think anyone who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and disservice to the life of Chief Owens,” Spicer said. “The raid, the action that was taken in Yemen was a huge success. American lives will be saved because of it. Future attacks will be prevented.”
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