March 2, 2017

Donald Trump shamelessly exploited the widow of the Navy SEAL slain during Trump’s botched Yemen raid during his speech before Congress. It was quite a convenient distraction from questions as to whether Trump’s own reckless behavior caused needless death, injury and destruction. During Fox's gushing coverage last night, Juan Williams was the only pundit to point out that Trump put a pretty bandaid on what is a very ugly situation for him.

As I wrote yesterday, Trump’s Yemen raid is beginning to look a lot like it should be called Yemen-ghazi. The father of William “Ryan” Owens, the slain SEAL, refused to meet with Trump and, instead, gave an extensive interview to the Miami Herald, which raised very damning questions about the operation. NBC News has reported that, contrary to White House claims, the raid has so far yielded no valuable intelligence.

Yesterday, during his interview with Fox & Friends, Trump foisted off responsibility for the raid on his generals and President Obama (and, of course, not one of the three co-hosts challenged such cowardice and Judas-like behavior).

Then, during his address to a joint session of Congress, Trump played the role of a military champion. Media Matters explains:

During his February 28 speech to a joint session of Congress, Trump recognized the sacrifice of William “Ryan” Owens, a Navy SEAL who was killed during a botched January 29 raid on a terrorist camp in Yemen. Trump said that according to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Owens participated in a “highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemy.” Trump’s praise of Owens, with the SEAL’s wife in the audience, drew a nearly two-minute long standing ovation from the crowd.

It was an incredibly moving moment, and a triumph for political optics. It was also a deeply deceptive political ploy aimed at pushing back against numerous criticisms of the Trump administration’s handling of the raid—the first covert counterterrorism operation of Trump’s presidency.

As Media Matters noted, much of the media fell for the charade. Fox News, didn’t just fall for it with gushing punditry, the Trump TV network promoted the moment.

But props to Juan Williams for reminding viewers of the truth:

WILLIAMS: I think we all are in consensus that that was the best speech we’ve seen Donald Trump give. But I say don’t lower the bar. And you know, the most powerful moment … was, I think it’s called Senior Chief Owens’ widow. But let’s not pretend that that’s not a highly controversial story in which many people have reported that there was no actionable intelligence and the father, the father refuses to deal with Donald Trump, saying that his son’s life was wasted. So that is, to me, part of what the story is going to be going forward. Tonight, the drama of it, the television aspect of it, just tremendous. But the back story is also going to come out.

The hosts quickly changed the subject.

Watch Williams above, from Fox’s analysis of Trump’s February 28, 2017 address to Congress.

Originally published at

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