Will Trump Investigate Ryan Owens' Death? The Yemen Mission Raises Questions
In the president's address to Congress on Tuesday night, one moment stood out to both critics and supporters of Trump: his words about William "Ryan" Owens, the Navy SEAL who was killed during a January raid in Yemen. The success of the raid, which Trump touted during his speech, is being disputed among Democrats and Republicans alike. And as questions about the mission remain, demands that Trump investigate Owens' death are emerging.
Namely, Owens' father Bill has asked the president to launch an investigation into the mission. And when his son's body arrived at Dover Air Force Base, he refused to speak with Trump and his daughter Ivanka, who were also present. In an interview, he toldThe Miami Herald exactly why he and the president are at odds over the mission that killed both Owens and innocent Yemeni civilians.
I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him. Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why? For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?
According to NPR, White House press secretary Sean Spicer expressed during a Monday press conference that Owens' death, civilians' deaths, and the helicopter that was destroyed will be reviewed. He stressed that reviews are standard protocol in a situation where life is lost.
Needless to say, Spicer's comment didn't convince Bill to attend Trump's address to Congress. However, Carryn Owens, the Navy SEAL's widow, was present and seated next to Ivanka.
While some pundits and audience members found Trump's praise of Owens to be one of the most "presidential" moments he's achieved yet, others criticized him for shirking responsibility for Owens' death, something presidents don't traditionally do. And even more harshly, others accused him of using Carryn, the Navy SEAL's widow, as a political prop.
Though both Trump and White House press secretary Sean Spicer have labelled the Yemen raid a "success," Trump claimed that the mission had been organized under the Obama administration, refusing to take accountability. The fact remains that Trump signed off on it.
Whether the review mentioned by Spicer will lead to a more in-depth investigation is still up in the air.