The father of a U.S. commando killed during the first counter-terrorism operation of President Donald Trump’s term in office said Friday that Trump shouldn’t “hide behind” his son’s death to avoid an investigation into the mission.
“Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation,” William Owens, the father of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, said in an interview with the Miami Herald. “The government owes my son an investigation.”
William “Ryan” Owens died Jan. 28 of wounds sustained during a raid on an al-Qaida base in Yemen. Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware in February to join Owens’ family and meet his remains.
“I told them I don’t want to meet the President,” William Owens said, as quoted by the Miami Herald. “I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him.”
He questioned the decision to launch 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? Why?” Owens said. “All of a sudden we had to make this grand display?”
According to the Miami Herald, Trump met with other family members in a separate room of the facility at Dover Air Force Base.
Owens, who said he didn’t vote for Trump, said he would “like some answers.”
“I don’t want anybody to think I have an agenda, because I don’t,” he said. “I just want the truth.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said earlier in February that anybody questioning the success of the raid was doing “a disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens.”
“I think anybody who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology,” he said.
“Is that your message to Senator John McCain?” NBC News’ Kristen Welker pressed. “He’s called it a failure.”
“That’s my message to anybody who says that,” Spicer replied. “I don’t know how much more clearer I can be.”