The father of a Navy SEAL killed during a mission that Donald Trump approved just a week into his administration blames the president for his son's death.
William Owens told The Miami Herald that he refused to meet with Trump when the remains of son, William “Ryan” Owens, were returned to Dover Air Force Base.
“I’m sorry, I don’t want to see him," Owens recalled explaining to the chaplain. "I told them I don’t want to meet the president.”
“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him."
Owens questioned Trump's motivation for signing off on a mission just six days into his presidency.
“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why?" he asked. "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?"
Although U.S. military officials told The New York Times that "everything went wrong" during the mission, the Trump administration has called the operation a success. Administration officials have claimed that an investigation would tarnish the memory Owen's son, but the father disagrees.
“Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation,” he remarked. “I want an investigation. … The government owes my son an investigation."
Owens suggested that Trump's order to ban travel from seven majority-Muslim country a day before his son's death may have compromised the mission.
"It just doesn’t make any sense to do something to antagonize an ally when you’re going to conduct a mission in that country,” he insisted. “Did we alienate some of the people working with them, translators or support people. Maybe they decided to release information to jeopardize the mission.”
“I think these are valid questions," Owens added. "I don’t want anybody to think I have an agenda, because I don’t. I just want the truth.”