Before you read this blog know this. I’ve thought long and hard about whether I should write it. I asked myself this question. “Would you write this blog if a Democrat was President?” My answer was, “Yes, this is not right and should be exposed.” I’m going out on a limb on this because few others have dared take this approach. I call them as I see them, though, and that’s why I’m posting this blog.
Everyone agrees that President Donald Trump is a master at getting publicity. He instinctively knows how to get the most coverage out of any situation. His recent address to a joint session of congress was no different. Having all the media there to cover it was not enough, he needed something sensational and he found it.
William “Ryan” Owens was the Navy Seal who died in the January 29 military operation in Yemen. Owens was the first American soldier to be killed in the Trump Administration.
On February 28th when President Trump addressed a joint session of congress he talked of strengthening the U.S. military by adding some $50 Billion to the military budget. Then he deftly pivoted to a related subject, the recent Yemen mission that resulted in the death of Ryan Owens. Seated in the audience next to Ivanka Trump was Carryn Owens, the widow of the fallen U.S. Navy Seal.
Trump spokespersons categorized the event as “honoring a fallen hero,” and that is certainly an honorable thing to do. But was it necessary to put the poor grieving widow on display, too, on national television? Even though she was quite obviously in a vulnerable state, she was still asked to attend this special event. It is doubtful that she knew the camera would be focused on her the entire time. You can bet she sought no publicity for herself, her only thoughts were for and of her departed husband.
Often when there is a crime or accident that involves a death, TV is criticized for asking grieving survivors how they feel. The President of the United States went way beyond that. He put a grieving widow on display before millions of Americans. My heart broke for her. If you watch the video you will see a woman who was totally alone among hundreds of people. Her only awareness was that her husband was gone and her heart was broken. At least twice she looked skyward and said something, probably to him. It was as though she was alone in her room at home. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/watch-wife-of-navy-seal-ryan-owens-applauded-for-more-than-2-minutes-during-trump-speech/article/2616085
When Trump acknowledged her presence she broke down in tears as the camera stayed
focused on her for almost the entire two minutes and ll seconds of thunderous applause. It was great theater — and that’s my objection. It should not have been. Donald Trump is a reality TV star. What could be better reality TV than the tears of a suffering widow? You can be sure that Trump and his people knew exactly what they were doing when they brought Mrs. Owens to Washington to hear the President “honor” her husband. It’s called “Stagecraft” and I think it was a disgraceful manipulation of a vulnerable person.
If upon reading this you object and say, “Other Presidents have done similar things,” that doesn’t make it right. I think this tasteless, self-serving act tells me all I ever need to know about Mr. Trump and his heartless band of alternative truth tellers.
But that’s only part of the story. Several reports have indicated that the Yemen mission was a failure. Pentagon sources have told various news agencies that they retrieved no “actionable” intelligence from the operation that left Owens and about 30 local residents dead.
Apparently, Trump tried to use William Owens the father of the dead Seal, too, but he refused to be part of the charade. The Elder Owens said he refused the chance to meet the President and that he wants an investigation into his son’s final mission — a raid in Yemen whose merits have been called into question.
“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” Owens said of the president in an interview with The Miami Herald. Discussing the raid, Owens, who is also a military veteran, told the Herald, “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?”
Saying that the U.S. owes his son an investigation, Owens criticized Trump for using a combat death to attack those who are calling for an inquiry. “Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation,” he said.
I cannot begin to imagine the pain Ryan’s wife and father are experiencing. I hope soon they find answers to their questions and peace.