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Washington - Was Trump Tribute To Fallen Soldier Fitting Or Calculated?

Published on: March 1, 2017 09:00 PM
By: AP
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An emotional Carryn Owens, widow of widow of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, as she was acknowledged by President Donald Trump during his address to a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)An emotional Carryn Owens, widow of widow of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, as she was acknowledged by President Donald Trump during his address to a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Washington - The televised moment moved a nation: A grief-stricken widow clasping her hands and looking skyward, tears streaming down her face as the nation’s lawmakers and president delivered a deafening standing ovation in honor of her fallen husband.

President Donald Trump’s tribute to Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens during Tuesday’s congressional address was seen by many as touching. But others regarded it as a calculated attempt to deflect criticism of his decision to approve a failed military operation and to turn around his administration’s shaky start with a gesture that sought to unify a deeply divided country.

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Social media was abuzz with both praise and criticism.

Trump was praised on Twitter as giving “the greatest respect to Carryn Owens” and for moving “viewers to tears with his love for our fallen military.”

But others said Trump was responsible for Owens’ death and criticized the “exploitation of his widow for last night’s dog and pony show.”

Perceptions of the gesture likely depended on whether viewers trust Trump, said Matthew Dallek, a political management professor at The George Washington University and speechwriter for former U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt.

“Whether he seems to be exploiting (Owens’) death or it seems to be heartfelt and genuine very much depends on one’s political view and whether or not you trust Trump,” Dallek said. “If you voted for him, you think he’s honoring a patriot and this is powerful. If ... you don’t trust him and don’t approve of his presidency so far, I don’t think this changes very much.”

President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. applaud Carryn Owens, widow of widow of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, during the president's address to a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. applaud Carryn Owens, widow of widow of Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, during the president's address to a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump is following in the footsteps of many presidents who have introduced guests to help make a political point. But Tuesday’s tribute was potentially more fraught because Owens’ father has refused to meet with Trump and called for an investigation into the Yemen raid that took his son’s life.

Owens, a 36-year-old married father of three, was the first known U.S. combat casualty since Trump took office, and his death, as well as the killing of several civilians, raised questions about the effectiveness of the raid. Trump used the tribute to insist again that Owen’s death was not in vain, saying he helped gather significant intelligence.

Trump’s gesture could have been genuine and calculated at the same time, said Elizabeth Sherman, a political science professor at American University. He likely knew that it would be difficult to criticize the tribute because Carryn Owens accepted his invitation and the chance for the nation to honor her husband’s sacrifice.

“I think Trump figured this was a brilliant PR move. How can you lose?” Sherman said.

But Ryan Owens “might have been alive” if there had been a deeper assessment of the raid’s risks, she said. “No one wants to say that” amid Carryn Owens’ grief.

Dallek said Trump also might have inflamed the politics around Owens’ death when he again insisted that valuable information was gathered in the raid, despite reports to the contrary.

“He could have invited Owens’ widow, acknowledged her sacrifice and her husband’s heroism and really left it at that,” Dallek said. “But he’s got to justify the raid as incredibly successful and one that is going to help him kill the terrorists.”



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Read Comments (8)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Mar 01, 2017 at 11:35 PM Anonymous Says:

AP can't find normal news, so they will fabricate one. And VIN will cut and paste.

2

 Mar 02, 2017 at 02:27 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

AP can't find normal news, so they will fabricate one. And VIN will cut and paste.

Have to agree. Where was this headline question when Obama paraded the Khans?

3

 Mar 02, 2017 at 07:03 AM Shimon Says:

Misleading headline.
Yes, it WAS fitting and everything in politics is calculated.

4

 Mar 02, 2017 at 09:02 AM Benny Says:

Whatever his intentions were - he made the family of this fallen soldier and others feel special.

5

 Mar 02, 2017 at 10:37 AM triumphinwhitehouse Says:

It was very pure, as is Trump's heart, was the previous WH occupant genuine when "condemning" violence " on both sides" when Jewish civilians were murdered? he was only genuine when the thug Trayvon martin was killed.

6

 Mar 02, 2017 at 10:57 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

Have to agree. Where was this headline question when Obama paraded the Khans?

Exactly.

7

 Mar 02, 2017 at 07:57 PM eliezer318 Says:

AP has totally prostituted itself and is spin, spin, spinning the news so hard it makes one dizzy. Am sickened by how they pick away at their target du jour

8

 Mar 02, 2017 at 10:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Only the jealous bitter left could take Advantage of such a heartbreaking moment and try to turn it against PresTrump.

9

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