During an appearance on "Fox & Friends" on Feb. 28, President Donald Trump was asked about the failed military raid in Yemen and about criticism from the father of Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens, who was killed in the botched venture on Jan. 28 (video below).
"This was a mission that was started before I got here," Trump stated. "This was something they wanted to do. They came to see me, they explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected. My generals are the most respected that we've had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan."
Trump said earlier in the interview that Defense Secretary James Mattis told him it was very successful.
Unidentified senior U.S. officials recently told NBC News that they were unaware of any "actionable intelligence" that the Pentagon said was gathered from the commando raid.
Additionally, a senior Congressional official said the Trump administration has not explained why American ground troops were used in Yemen.
While the raid was planned under former President Barack Obama's administration, Obama refused to green light it, which Trump did after being president less than a week.
"Certainly the Obama administration, particularly by the end of its eight-year run, was very cautious in moving forward with any kind of military activity," retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO commander, told NBC News. "A new administration I think naturally is going to be spring-loaded to move out and demonstrate something."
On Feb. 8, White House spokesman Sean Spicer warned that anyone "who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] a disservice to the life of Chief Owens."
Bill Owen, the SEAL's father, questioned the raid during an interview with the Miami 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?
Spicer did respond to Owens on Feb. 27: "I can tell him that on behalf of the president, his son died a hero and the information that he was able to help obtain through that raid, as I said before, is going to save American lives," he said. "The mission was successful in helping prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation."
(Note: Yemen mission comments at 1:55 mark)