I didn't watch the Pr*sident's speech before Congress last night because I'm not a masochist. Of course, I care too much about what's going on in the world, so I saw plenty of clips, commentary and reactions today. Let me say this.
I don't care that Trump didn't spew crumbs out of his mouth when he talked or that he managed to string together one or two coherent sentences or that he finally acknowledged some of the hate crimes against immigrants and Jews that he inspires.
One non-drooling speech does NOT make him Presidential. Sheesh.
I'm going to leave alone all the (literal) lies he vomited out. Or the fact that he demonized hard-working immigrants yet again. Or that he talked about clean air and water a couple of weeks after he allowed coal companies to start dumping their industrial waste into streams.
I want to talk about the wife of slain Navy SEAL, William “Ryan” Owens. Owens was killed a few weeks ago during a raid in Yemen, launched six days into the Trump Presidency. Let's review the timeline.
The raid on Yemen was conceived during the Obama Administration to kill a particular Al Qaeda leader and to grab a bunch of al Qaeda hard drives. President Obama did not authorize the raid.
Six days into his Presidency, Trump was briefed and authorized the raid while he was eating dinner.
As the raid started, the soldiers found out very early that they were compromised; al Qaeda knew they were coming. They continued anyway. The result of the raid was that a $70 million dollar American helicopter was destroyed, several American soldiers wounded, Chief Owens was killed, and up to 30 civilians on the ground were killed, including women and children.
Over the past few weeks and again last night, the White House and Trump claimed that the raid was a major success and generated large amounts of vital intelligence. Spokesman Sean Spicer said we grabbed an "unbelievable" amount of intelligence.
During Trump's speech last night, Chief Owen's widow, Carryn, now a Gold Star wife, was seated in the gallery next to Ivanka. Trump said this:
“We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of U.S. Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William ‘Ryan’ Owens. ... Ryan died as he lived, a warrior and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation.”In tears, Carryn received a prolonged standing ovation, a fact Trump alluded to a moment later when he tactlessly and moronically said, "And Ryan is looking down right now. You know that. And he’s very happy, because I think he just broke a record.” (Well then it's all right! He's dead, but he's happy that he broke the record for longest ovation by Congress. Winning!)
So Trump brought as a guest this bereaved, suffering wife and used her as a political prop. Why do I say that? It's certainly okay for the President to laud the sacrifice of an American soldier and his family in this way, right? Of course. But let's revisit the timeline.
This raid was the first military action authorized by Pr*sident Trump. He could have monitored the entire operation from the situation room live, while it happened. Instead, having authorized the raid over dinner, while American troops were fighting for their lives and civilians being killed, Trump was up in the White House residence sending out Tweets about an upcoming TV appearance.
After the botched raid resulted in several casualties, did they get the al Qaeda leader who was the target of the raid? Nope. He escaped. Did they at least get the intelligence they were seeking? Nope. Several Administration sources have said that the raid yielded no significant intelligence.
The White House has continually lied about this raid since the day it happened.
When confronted with these facts last week on FOX News, how did Trump react? Here's what he said.
"This was a mission that was started before I got here. This was something that was, you know, just they wanted to do. They came to see me. They explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected," he said. "My generals are the most respected that we've had in many decades I believe. And they lost Ryan."The President of the United States, when faced with the disaster of a military operation HE authorized, in which an American soldier DIED, said that it was Obama's fault, the generals' fault, and that HE, the Commander in Chief, was not responsible. And then he had the utter nerve to bring before Congress the widow of the man killed in the half-cocked raid HE authorized and used her grief for his own political ambition in a stunning display of cynical hypocrisy.
The President of the United States is a coward. And a monster.
Shame on him. Shame on his team. Shame on the Republicans cheering him on. Shame on you if you voted for him.