In a wide-ranging speech before a joint session of Congress that touched on issues like immigration, infrastructure, Obamacare, and jobs, President Donald Trump paid tribute to #Ryan Owens, a #Navy Seal who died during a controversial raid in Yemen. He pointed out Owens’ widow, Carryn Owens, who was present in the guest gallery. As Ms. Owens wept and prayed, mouthing “thank you” most of the people present in the chamber gave her and her fallen husband a two-minute standing ovation. The moment was the most affecting in the entire over one-hour speech.
"Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation," The president declared. He also quoted scripture about a man having no greater lover than to lay down his life for his friends. He painted a vision of Owens looking down from the afterlife and smiling.
The tribute was certainly heartfelt and genuine. It was also a perfectly executed example of political theater. The Yemen raid, planned during the Obama presidency but executed after Trump became president, has become controversial. Some media reports claimed that the raid was botched and did not yield any appreciable intelligence. White House and Pentagon officials deny these reports, pointing out that 14 terrorists were killed and that the SEALs collected a treasure trove of intelligence, including computers, cell phones, and other data, according to an ABC News affiliate in Philadelphia.
While Ms. Owens was duly appreciative of the tribute paid her and her husband, Owens father, Bill, remains bitter. He has pointedly refused to meet with #President Trump and has called for an investigation of the raid during which his son was killed. Two of the member of Congress in the chamber, Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Keith Ellison, both Democrats, remained seated and pointedly refused to join in the standing ovation. The behavior shocked most Americans and was so noted on cable news and social media.
Still, Trump seems to have hit a home run during his first speech before a joint session of Congress, with some media talking heads declaring that it was the night that he indeed became undisputed president of the United States.