Why This Navy SEAL's Father Refused to Meet With President Trump

February 27th 2017

Almie Rose

"I told them I didn't want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn't let me talk to him."

This is what William Owens told the Miami Herald Sunday when speaking of President Donald Trump, who stopped by Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to pay his respects to his son, William 'Ryan' Owens, a Navy SEAL. The SEAL's death, which has been reported as happening on dates ranging from Jan. 27-Jan. 29, has been the subject of inquiries from the press and politicians. The Navy SEAL is "the first American to die to die in combat under the Trump administration," NPR notes.

Owens, a military veteran, went on to call out Trump for both the mission and his subsequent handling of it — namely, for not investigating the raid. "Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration?" Owens told the Herald. "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?"

The raid was fraught with troubling issues from the start, from reports that Trump discussed the military operation over an informal dinner with advisors, to a New York Times piece on Feb. 1 revealing U.S. military sources said, of the mission, "[...] almost everything that could go wrong did." However, the White House has called the mission a "huge success," despite the death of Ryan Owens, an eight-year-old girl and "at least 16 civilians and 14 militants," according to Fox News.

Specifically, it was White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who called the mission a success in a press conference on Feb. 8, adding, "I think anyone who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and a disservice to the life of Chief Owens. The raid, the action that was taken in Yemen was a huge success. American lives will be saved because of it. Future attacks will be prevented."

Sean Spicer

Which is why Owens wants answers and an official inquiry. His message to Trump, via Miami Herald:

"Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation. I want an investigation. … The government owes my son an investigation."

On Monday, CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller tweeted, "In response to father of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, killed in raid in Yemen, Spicer says DOD conducting three investigations per standard procedure."