The high point of President Donald Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28 was when Carryn Owens, the widow of Navy SEAL William "Ryan" Owens, received a standing ovation. However, controversy has erupted over whether Trump's mention of the fallen SEAL was exploitative (video below).
Ryan Owens was killed during a Jan. 29 raid in Yemen authorized by Trump.
Carryn, who was seated in the first lady’s box next to the president's daughter, Ivanka, looked upward and mouthed the words "I love you" as those in the House chamber stood and applauded, notes The New York Times.
At one point, Trump appeared to make reference to the length of the applause for Carryn: "And Ryan is looking down right now. You know that. And he’s very happy, because I think he just broke a record.”
Former NSA analyst John Schindler tweeted his disapproval of what he believed was Trump using Carryn as a political prop, notes RawStory.com:
Snr Chief Owens' widow...for God's sake leave this poor woman alone. Trump gloating, of course...talking the Bible.
Bad decisions happen. War is war. Right until POTUS publicly exploits a widow whose husband's body is still warm. F*** that. F*** all that.
She was trapped. Literally. Terrible abuse of a grieving widow. She didn't want to stand up. We know why.
If watching POTUS publicly exploit S/Chief Owens' grieving widow didn't make your skin crawl, I worry about you -- as an American & a human.
So "the generals" got S/Chief Owens killed, but let's spotlight his widow on live TV. Has Stockholm Syndrome overtaken the whole country?
According to Mediaite.com, Sunny Hostin of "The View" also believed Carryn was exploited by Trump:
I thought that was so exploitative. I thought he exploited that widow. It was so hurtful to me. Because we know that U.S. military officials have said to the press that Obama didn’t give the green light because he felt that the mission would mark a significant escalation in Yemen, and that President Trump, without the intel, without the appropriate ground support, approved this at dinner, not the Situation Room, and was tweeting.
So when I look at that, I think, "My god, how do you exploit the woman who is grieving over the loss of her husband, the father of her children, when you sent him there without the appropriate ground support?" That was wrong.
Carryn has not publicly spoken about the speech, but William Owens, the father of the fallen SEAL, told the Miami Herald how he refused to meet Trump when his son's body was flown to Dover Air Force Base.
William said he told the chaplain at the ceremony: "I’m sorry, I don’t want to see him. 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," William added.