“The View” has become the latest show to slam the president for his emotionally powerful tribute to the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL at his February 28 address to a joint session of Congress.
On March 2, “The View” took the president to task for honoring Carryn Owens, the mourning widow of fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.Screenshot/The View
The panel did this in the form of raising a question that many Americans would not think to ask: Tribute or damage control?
Whoopi Goldberg asked:
Image Credit: Getty Images/Alex Wong
“That mission could not have happened without presidential approval which is why Obama never gave the go-ahead, because he felt it wasn’t good enough to send our people in. Was this a tribute or was this damage control?”
As background, the order to conduct the raid on the Yemeni al Qaeda compound was submitted one day before the presidential election, and approval was reportedly postponed in part due to the next “moonless night” falling after Obama’s term in office expired. President Trump approved the operation, which killed three senior AQ officials, scores of jihadists, and what unconfirmed reports estimate to be 25 civilians.
Some have laid responsibility for Owens’ death at President Trump’s feet, due in part to his absence in the “situation room” where command-and-control from The White House on some sensitive military operations is exercised. The president on that day had a pre-arranged schedule hosting ambassadors, and the White House Press Secretary stated that President Trump was being kept abreast of the situation throughout.Screenshot/The View
Sunny Hostin, a senior correspondent for ABC News and regular co-host on “The View,” put her revulsion starkly:
“I thought that was so exploitative. I thought he exploited that widow. It was so hurtful to me. 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. That was wrong!”
The narrative of Carryn Owens being a “prop” of the administration is a popular one, though it dehumanizes and strips the widow of agency. Before the address, however, the president asked permission the widow to mention her late husband’s contributions to the security of the country.Screenshot/The View
The crowd burst into applause at Hostin’s remark, and even conservative host Jedediah Bila piled on:
“Also, the intelligence they got, it’s been very heavily disputed whether the intelligence they got, was even helpful at all. I mean, he was saying there was actionable intelligence other people are saying they really didn’t get anything out of it. But, the truth is for me, it’s very simple. When you’re the commander-in-chief, the buck stops with you… I don’t care where you involve people, you are responsible. Your generals, everyone reports to you, ultimately.
So, what he should have said is: This is my fault. I owe you an apology.”
Joy Behar followed up with a specious claim that Trump could have blamed it on Hillary Clinton, such as the 13-hour terrorist raid that killed four Americans without a hostage rescue, which Mrs. Clinton ultimately took responsibility for.
The discussion brings up the issue of whether Americans believe that it can carry out a “bloodless war” against terrorists and still maintain the political will to defend the nation against hostile foreign actors. The lessons of 9/11, the Boston bombing, and San Bernardino appear to be lost in the conversation.
The president’s speech has been well-received. There has been bipartisan acknowledgment that Trump appeared more “presidential,” and a majority of CNN viewers stated that it made them feel “more optimistic” about the country.
Nevertheless, there appears to be a tendency in the media to attack no matter what he does, whether it’s classy, presidential, or even inconsequential.
In today’s political climate, a president honoring a fallen soldier cannot just be a president honoring a fallen soldier.
If the President of the United States does the right thing, he will surely be condemned by those who fear the spillover benefits. If the country succeeds under President Trump, the Democratic Party and the left necessarily fail. This is the zero-sum game our nation’s two parties have become locked into.