I try not to be over the top with my word choices and descriptions here. I don’t always succeed at that, but I think I stick to it the vast majority of the time. But tonight there’s really no other way to put it – it was truly revolting to watch Donald Trump during his speech, basking in the glory of the standing ovation received by the widow of fallen Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens.
While it was touching and enormously emotional to see Ryan’s wife Carryn have that moment to honor her husband, it was incredibly disturbing to watch Trump eat it up, after having just heard him say this earlier today in an interview on Fox News:
This was a mission that was started before I got here. 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.
So Trump blamed Obama (it was started before I got here, Trump says. Not true, but also beside the fact), and he blamed his generals, but somehow as the President – who is supposed to take in all the information he’s given by his advisors and make the final call – he takes absolutely no responsibility himself for the outcome. This, even though reporting by Reuters shortly after the raid cited U.S. military officials saying that Trump had approved the mission “without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.” And the New York Times reported around the same time that Trump made the decision to launch the raid over dinner with two military aides and two political aides, Jared Kushner and Stephen Bannon.
Whether the Reuters reporting is correct or not, Trump is the man at the top, and that is the job has asked us to give him. He is ultimately in charge. Even if he did his homework, and did everything right, and ultimately this was just a tragedy nobody could have foreseen, he should own up to and take responsibility for the decision he made. But as we’ve seen numerous times before, when something goes wrong, he passes the buck. In Trump’s world, the buck always stops over there when mistakes are made.
Additionally, in an earlier attempt to avoid accountability, Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer had used Owens’ death as a shield to try to prevent reporters or members of Congress from even asking questions about what went wrong with the raid. At a press conference days after the raid, in response to questions on the topic, Spicer claimed the raid was a success and said “I think anybody who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does a] disservice to the life of Chief Owens.”
So the Trump administration has not handled itself very honorably with respect to Ryan Owens’ death, making Trump’s staging of this moment during his speech unbelievably galling.
And to put a capper on it, as the overwhelming standing ovation for Ryan Owens was coming to a close, Trump said this:
Because for Trump, everything is about winning, apparently even in the after-life.