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Don’t Fall For Trump’s Shameless Act Regarding Failed Yemen Raid

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Don’t Fall For Trump’s Shameless Act Regarding Failed Yemen Raid

Trump tweets, Yemen

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters for America.

President Donald Trump shamelessly and publicly deceived the widow of a fallen U.S. serviceman about her husband’s death in order to diffuse widespread concerns about the raid that resulted in his death, and journalists are rewarding him by praising his actions as “presidential.”

During his February 28 speech to a joint session of Congress, Trump recognized the sacrifice of William “Ryan” Owens, a Navy SEAL who was killed during a botched January 29 raid on a terrorist camp in Yemen. Trump said that according to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Owens participated in a “highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemy.” Trump’s praise of Owens, with the SEAL’s wife in the audience, drew a nearly two-minute long standing ovation from the crowd.

It was an incredibly moving moment, and a triumph for political optics. It was also a deeply deceptive political ploy aimed at pushing back against numerous criticisms of the Trump administration’s handling of the raid — the first covert counterterrorism operation of Trump’s presidency. These include:

  • Due to insufficient intelligence and preparation, “the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by land mines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists.” This led to U.S. casualties and civilian deaths.
  • Trump was not in the White House situation room for the raid — his Twitter account tweeted and deleted a promotion for an upcoming interview while the attack was ongoing. He approved the action over dinner at a meeting that included political staffers.
  • Contrary to Trump’s claim that the raid was a successful intelligence gathering mission, reports suggest part of its purpose was actually to kill a top leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who “either slipped away or was not at the location.” The raid reportedly produced “no significant intelligence” according to U.S. officials who contradicted Pentagon statements in comments to NBC News. The only intelligence from the raid the Pentagon has produced is a 10-year-old video.

As these questions have mounted, Democrats on the Hill and Owens’ father have called for an investigation into the raid. And this morning, Trump drew new controversy when he passed the buck, claiming that it “was a mission that started before I got here” and blaming the military for Owens’ death, saying, “They explained what they wanted to do, the generals, who are very respected. My generals are the most respected we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan.”

All of that context has vanished for some journalists, who have instead rushed to praise Trump for his comments during his address to Congress.

CNN’s panel was full of accolades for Trump following his speech.

Anderson Cooper kicked things off by praising the “extraordinary moment.” Van Jones declared that Trump “became president of the United States in that moment. Period.” Gloria Borger credulously highlighted Trump’s claims that the raid had been successful. And of course, pro-Trump pundits Rick Santorum and Jeffrey Lord gushed over Trump’s “healing moment” and “soaring… inspirational” speech.

CNN’s journalists weren’t alone in failing to put the moment in context.

As Erick Erickson pointed out, this is the response Trump is looking for — he is deliberately trying to use this speech to neutralize potential criticism of the raid.

Reporters don’t need to fall into this trap. They can recognize the emotional moment in the Capitol, while still giving their audiences the facts.

IMAGE: U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Delaware, Ohio, U.S. October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst



  1. Sundance98 March 1, 2017

    Grandstanding anyone? The President that cannot even salute right…….the one that says he went to Military School….what was he doing there selling drugs and alcohol? The one that uses a Navy Seals wife….to gather political points? The one that Ivanka Trump couldn’t quite bring herself to put her arm around this Wounded Warrior Wife…
    No, for all those out there that love to apologize for Trumpian poor performance or behavior……..we say this: NEXT TIME pick a President that can read, write and speak English…….and is willing to show his tax returns! Not our President NOW, in six months or in the next six minutes or EVER! Trump can now join the ranks of LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush…..as our worst and most unproductive and harmful Chief Execs. Five weeks? Really? Has it been just five or six weeks….OMG!

    1. BDD1951 March 1, 2017

      I say he’ll be gone by mid summer. He really milked that moment with the widow for all it was worth.

      1. ivory69690@yahoo.com March 1, 2017

        the widow should take the shot at the DUMPSTER ending the clown can only be a more successful future for the country and the world . it could only help

      2. Sand_Cat March 2, 2017

        Very unlikely he’ll be gone for at least four years, and maybe eight, and the alternatives (the true-believer “Christian” fanatic Pence for starters) don’t bear thinking about. Nothing personal intended, but it’s thinking like that we can thank for all the Dems who stayed home on election day, secure in the knowledge that he would be defeated in a landslide.

    2. Independent1 March 1, 2017

      You missed the president that has ended up doing the most damage to the American way of life Ronald Reagan. Despite GOP lies, the economy and everything about Carter’s 4 years in office were better than anything Reagan ever did. Jimmy didn’t collude with terrorists; Or end up with more than 120 members of his administration being indicted to crimes like Reagan with a number of them going to jail. Or starting today’s enormous income inequality.. Everything Reagan did was a failure, everything!!! The American economy created 500,000 more jobs/yr under Jimmy than under Reagan. And Jimmy created the Energy Department, Reagan created nothing but misery with his action – don’t forget 241 Marines who died Because Reagan put them in harms way for no good purpose.

      1. Sundance98 March 1, 2017

        *We love that Flat Billy Beer …straight out of the can. No fuzz….just looks like cow pee pee and probably tastes the same way. Sorry Inde….talk about inept and hopeless…Look in the Dictionary and you find Jimmy Carter’s photo. 22% Interest rates, Diminished Expectations, Gasoline Spikes, Russian Troop ships off our shores, 22% Unemployment……..yeah, Jimmy did one hell of a job….and that is why….folks overwhelming voted him out of office. Meanwhile, you try to pick the fly poop out of the pepper with our man Ronnie. Remember this: :Mr. Gorby……tear down this wall…” And Jimmy said: “You invade Afghanistan and we will stamp our feet and not let our athletes go to your nasty rigged Olympics!” No sir, that horse has surely left the barn and we can say with certainty….Iran-Contra and 241 dead Marines were a mosquito bite…compared to what’s coming with the Trumpster! Let’s see, Trump only has 240 More before he equals the number of deaths of Reagan. How many died during the terms of George and Laura and Barack and Michelle? Your shot is purely the worst “Straw Man” Argument in history. Meanwhile, do you support having the Israeli’s buy the the land from the Palestinians for their Settlements? Thought so…. Got drafted in July of 1967……hated LBJ, Robert Strange McNamara, Nixon, Kissenger and Westmoreland….you? Thought so.

        1. Independent1 March 1, 2017

          Yes, all of it contrived criticisms of Jimmy by the Republicans.

          Jimmy had nothing to do with the Iran revolution which created fears of an oil shortage which actually materialized and drove up gas prices and created a mini economic panic also driving up interest rates and many prices. It was only propaganda created by Reagan and his cohorts that brainwashed Americans into believing that somehow all that was Jimmy’s fault.

          And even the hostage standoff was another fabricated deal created by Reagan and his campaign henchmen that made a deal with the Ayatollahs to keep the hostage situation going so Ronnie could play off it to make Jimmy look weak and unable to resolve the situation. Another GOP contrived non reality and quasi treason action.

          Just like Nixon who committed treason by sabotaging the Vietnam peace talks which well may have been why the war ran for another 7 years after LBJ left office. Had he gotten re-elected LBJ would have had Nixon tried for Treason.

          And if Jimmy had so much ‘diminished expectations’, why is it that 10.3 million jobs were created during his 4 years (2.5 million/yr) compared to the paltry 16 million in Reagan’s 8 years or only 2 million/yr while Clinton created almost 24 million or 3 million/yr in his 8 years?

          Here’s a graph which shows that over the last 80 years, the economy under Jimmy Carter was by far THE 3RD BEST OF ALL THE PRESIDENTS IN OFFICE DURING THAT TIME!!!! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8f349b99be7f7ae4ca784bbc17e744d8f161e1ed4f74903dfa28658e0636855d.jpg

          The only people who buy into Jimmy Carter not being an effective president are those who are so gullible as to believe GOP propaganda aka lies!!!!!

          1. Sundance98 March 1, 2017

            *So, we just have to ask: Did you ever drink any of that Billy Beer? You have us convinced…..we feel so bad now, that we will have to go to a Georgia Peanut Farm and build some Habitat for Humanity…..roasting sheds. Meanwhile, Ronnie got elected twice against some pretty tough competition….who were they again?

          2. Independent1 March 1, 2017

            Wow!! You really are out there in that contest for needing to head to Bellview Sanatorium!!! Do they know you’re missing tonight?? Just more total BS!!!

          3. Sand_Cat March 2, 2017

            The evidence for most of your claims about Johnson is weak to non-existent.

        2. Independent1 March 1, 2017

          And all that Reagan effort of bringing down the Berlin wall is nothing but a bunch BS!! Reagan’s efforts were a farce just like he was!!! The farce of a president!

        3. Independent1 March 1, 2017

          And notice that even some Republicans haven’t bought into that con job that Trump tried to foist on the American public last night. It was just one fantasy after another.

          See this from CNN News:

          Just five weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have already proven to be major headaches for the new President.

          McCain has accused Trump of running an “administration in disarray.” Graham called his budget proposal “dead on arrival” on Capitol Hill. And two issues — immigration and defense spending — could provide Graham and McCain new fodder.

          The two will make their case to a national audience tonight in a town hall hosted by CNN and moderated by chief olitical correspondent Dana Bash.

        4. Sand_Cat March 1, 2017

          LBJ was most productive: Civil Rights, Voting Rights, etc. True, he wrecked his legacy, mainly with Vietnam, but he at least had something big to balance it. Not Nixon fan, but there’s the EPA and some other environmental laws of considerable importance.

          1. Sundance98 March 1, 2017

            *Yeah, The Civil Right Act was put together by the Kennedys…..LBJ was the Greatest phony of all time next to our current President. LBJ killed alot of great guys I knew…..and him, Robert Strange McNamara and Westmoreland…..we will never forgive. NEVER! Ever hear of Billy Sol Estes? Look it up.

          2. Sand_Cat March 2, 2017

            The Kennedys would NEVER have pushed through either the Civil Rights or Voting Rights acts; they were far too cautious and conservative. And I believe Mr. McNamara was appointed by the same sainted Kennedy.
            I make no excuses for Johnson’s war policies or the private and public corruptions associated with his Administration. And YES: I have heard of Billy Sol Estes.
            Johnson was a tough SOB as a politician, but without those pieces of legislation this country would be so much the worse. I understand that his “War on Poverty” was also going very well until he wrecked it with the war.
            I certainly have nothing but contempt for Trump and the scum he has appointed to run the cabinet and associated organizations, and I don’t believe any of his claims about having “saved” jobs to date, but all his loudmouthed threats – even if he never carries them out – have companies at least thinking about keeping jobs here, even if it’s purely to curry favor.

          3. Sundance98 March 3, 2017

            *Luckily, everyone has their favorite President, for whatever reasons that they can relate to. You liked the LBJ and we detested every scintilla of the man. Others think that Jimmy was the salt of the earth, and we think he is still the dumbest of the lot. We loved Reagan and George and Laura and Barack and Michelle. Some still love Clinton with all his faults or the George H.W. because Barbara is so likeable. Let’s just say in a beauty contest…..Trump shows up last. We wouldn’t have coffee with this person for $2 billion dollars and a ride on Air Force One! Some folks feel differently. Having been drafted in July of 1967 and having served through July of 1969, we can say yes Nixon was the worst Republican President in American History for killing his 28,000 American Youth, but by then LBJ had already killed 30,000. 500,000 came back without arms and legs and with PTSD and nightmares that would last a life time……for what? So, LBJ could have his brother in law pave most of the highways (cost plus) in Vietnam and the Oil Companies take what they could before the fall. Anyway, nice to chat it up on the American Presidents. Sand Cat…

          4. Sand_Cat March 3, 2017

            I never said I “liked” LBJ; I said he deserved more credit than you and others appeared to give him.
            I don’t think the riots moved LBJ much. and I’m not aware that MLK fought him that much, except maybe on the war. As for your apparent implication that LBJ had him murdered, I suspect the evidence on that is as weak as that “proving” he murdered the Kennedys.

          5. Sundance98 March 3, 2017

            *The streets were in flames, by the way….they were burning down our entire nation….that is why he passed those bills. MLK fought him…..and perished. Lots of books on that subject worth reading. They still will not release ALL of the JFK info until 2063…just saying.

          6. Sand_Cat March 5, 2017

            Your version of history doesn’t really challenge mine in any credible way. Johnson fought for those bills from the beginning, and your paranoid fantasies add nothing.

          7. Sundance98 March 5, 2017

            *You might just want to read the synopsis of Dereliction of Duty by Lt. Gen Herbie Ray McMasters about the war subject and then draw your own conclusion…of the facts and history. Tell us all….are you Prior Service? Ever served in the Military? Just asking.

          8. jamescgraves March 2, 2017

            So how do you balance 58,000 dead, 350,000 wounded and probably another 300 to 500K with long term health issues form diseases and Agent Orange?

          9. Sand_Cat March 2, 2017

            Not that it excuses Johnson, but more than half of the deaths occurred during Nixon’s “secret” campaign to “win” the war, if memory serves. Like most people, you have overlooked the 1-2 MILLION Vietnamese deaths.
            If not for the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, millions more would have suffered discrimination and being treated as subhumans. I make no excuses for Johnson’s part in the war; he essentially did what Goldwater promised and he criticized to win the election, but if Goldwater had won, the toll would likely have been even higher.

  2. ray March 1, 2017

    This should be Trump’s Benghazi , But the repugs well do everything to cover it up.

    1. I Am Helpy March 1, 2017

      Yes, everyone else is a communist, Bride of Putin.

    2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth March 1, 2017

      Dear Putin Gulag refugee,
      Please try to educate yourself, break free from Putin’s orbit, and begin to live rather than be a walking corpse.

    3. Aaron Zanzibari March 1, 2017

      Dear Putin Gulag refugee,
      Please try to educate yourself, break free from Putin’s orbit, and begin to live rather than be a walking corpse, and a flunky who posts foolish visuals like the characters in your fantasy are doing.

    4. FireBaron March 2, 2017

      Oh, Yeah. I remember the “Liberty Alliance” – misogynistic, racist, antisemitic, anti-Catholic, gun-toting bunch of closet queens who believe the 1st Amendment only applies to themselves and use the 2nd Amendment to defend it, and who believe that every Amendment approved after the 12th should be suspended.
      By the way, ‘Zilla, have you rented a moving van to move out of your mommy’s basement yet?

  3. Daniel Jones March 1, 2017

    Godzilla: Grow the Hell up or STFU. You can choose!

    ray: They just don’t care. Not about his life, not about the truth, and not about our lives.

    Sundance: This ass thinks he’s King of America.

    BDD: The media is willing to join the propaganda machine to get White House access. Subscribe to newspapers, preferably ones not owned by the Koch Faction.

  4. Sundance98 March 1, 2017

    *How did you like the look on Melina’s face? Telling.you might say? The sour prunes were in abundance. It really is up to everyone, to make sure that the Dem Senators in particular….do not sell out for their own profit and gain, which we are sure are being promised and offered.. as we speak. Any aberrant behavior should be duly noted for future reference. This is a very old game, that folks like LBJ to perfection. The Trumpster loves to intimidate and threaten. Daniel, the truth is: that he thinks he is Blackbeard the Pirate reincarnated; who can rape, pillage and plunder without regard, for ethics or character. When the days comes as it will,….when his Republican Base finally has a sudden epiphany and wakes up to see Richard Nixon in the rear view mirror….then we can claim victory. He will eventually land on his own sword, the way that all dictators do…by simply overplaying their hand.

  5. PrecipitousDrop March 1, 2017

    The monstrous dishonesty behind Trump’s spotlight on Mrs. Owens was revealed at the end of her over-long “ovation”.
    Trump said it may have “broken a record”.
    It’s all about Trump. The rest of us are just props.

  6. Aaron Zanzibari March 1, 2017

    Trump will sacrifice anyone’s life if it will buoy his ego. Never mind that Donald was afraid of doing service for the company by coming up with a “lame” excuse about bone spurs in his feet—spurs he developed from always running away from a job after he bilked customers or denied accommodation—he is willing to send others into harm’s way so that he can be the Big Man On Campus in the eyes of groveling admirers looking for a manufacturing job, or jobs that harm the environment while helping the hoity toity gain more profits.

    1. I Am Helpy March 2, 2017

      The best part about his fake bone spurs rich boy excuse is that – when pressed – he is unable to recall which foot had the crippling bone spurs that definitely prevented him from not dodging the draft.

  7. OriginalUpmuuchtoolate March 1, 2017

    Hey Isa, how about an investigation?

  8. TZToronto March 1, 2017

    Trump said that he knows more than the generals. If the plan presented to him (if he even read it) was so flawed, why didn’t he cancel it? Brilliant uber-general that he is, he should have been able to see through it without even trying. But no, he rubber-stamped it. Why? Because he wants to be a wartime president and be the horse that doesn’t get changed in mid-stream. (Being around for a second term–barf!–assumes that he doesn’t get impeached, convicted, and then charged for colluding with Vlad P. to steal the election.) Donny boy, open your eyes, and realize that the buck always stops at your desk, even if you try to put it on someone else’s–especially the guy’s who’s not there any more.

  9. Aaron Zanzibari March 1, 2017

    “….And of course, pro-Trump pundits Rick Santorum and Jeffrey Lord gushed over Trump’s “healing moment” and “soaring… inspirational” speech. ”

    Truly, the GOP can’t be this desperate to overlook the obvious by “gushing” over Trump’s ‘healing'(?) and ‘soaring'(?) speech. How can anyone be such a dullard as to call a con job “healing”—was Donald healing the GOP and his ego instead? I would posit that the answer is a resounding “YES”. Soaring? Only thing soaring the previous night was Trump’s ego.

    Inspirational—Again, who in their right mind would call a spiel by a con artist inspirational?

    Only a shameless and spineless politician interested in making his or her Party look good would sink to such low standards and give credit where no credit is warranted.

  10. I of John March 3, 2017

    Is it time to blame Obama again?

    1. PrecipitousDrop March 3, 2017

      It’s never too late to blame Obama.
      He’s behind this whole Russia thing, doncha know.

  11. Sundance98 March 3, 2017

    *Barack, Michelle, Bill and Hillary….have left the building. How is that Muslim Ban… doing for ya Prezident Bumbler? And by the way; As Commander in Chief, You don’t wear a Navy Cap on board an uncommissioned ship…..you nerd cake! You want to wear that cap….go on the shake down cruise and have Melinia smash the Champagne bottle on the bow. Decorum 101 was evidently not one of your strong points in
    Military school.


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