President Donald Trump on Tuesday dodged responsibility for a botched mission he ordered in Yemen last month, placing the onus on the military and Barack Obama’s administration instead.
Bill Owens, the father of Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, the Navy SEAL who died in the operation, demanded an investigation into his son’s death over the weekend. Owens further revealed he couldn’t bear to meet Trump at the airport as Ryan’s casket was carried off the military plane last month.
Asked about the matter during an interview with Fox News’ “Fox ‘n’ Friends,” Trump repeatedly said “they” were responsible for the outcome of the mission, in reference to the military.
“This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something they wanted to do,” he said. “They came to me, they explained what they wanted to do ― the generals ― who are very respected, my generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan.
“I can understand people saying that. I’d feel ― ‘What’s worse?’ There’s nothing worse,” he added. “This was something that they were looking at for a long time doing, and according to [Defense Secretary Jim] Mattis it was a very successful mission. They got tremendous amounts of information.”
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The raid yielded no significant intelligence, U.S. officials told NBC News on Monday. Earlier this month, however, Pentagon officials said it produced “actionable intelligence.” So, too, did White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who initially called the raid “highly successful.”
“I think anyone who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] a disservice to the life of Chief Owens,” he said earlier this month. “The raid, the action that was taken in Yemen was a huge success.”