President Trump and Sen.
The White House said Wednesday that anyone who questions the success of last week's deadly US -led raid in Yemen "owes an apology" to the Navy SEAL who was killed there.
Later, Spicer doubled down, accusing Senator John McCain (and other critics of the raid) of defaming the dead Navy SEAL when he suggested the raid had been something less than a towering success.
Asked about McCain's comments at the daily press briefing, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Owens "fought knowing what was at stake in that mission". It was even more appalling coming from Trump, who as a young man avoided Vietnam by gaining five draft deferments.
"An attack on a village in Yemen ordered by President Trump on Sunday caused the death of a newborn baby, alongside as many as 23 civilians", Reprieve said in a press release. Early in the presidential race, Trump dismissed McCain's criticism, and said of veteran, "He's a war hero because he got capture".
Our frighteningly thin-skinned president is absolutely wrong to seek to muzzle McCain. "Only emboldens the enemy!" the president tweeted Thursday.
The raid also reportedly killed 15 women and children, according to Yemeni officials, reportedly including the 8-year-old daughter of American-born al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki.
Donald Trump took on John McCain's status as a war hero and won the GOP nomination anyway.
Trump weighed in Thursday morning. "He's been losing so long he doesn't know how to win anymore ..."
McCain initially called the raid a failure, then said in a statement Tuesday that while many objectives were met, "I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success".
As a result of the local outrage caused by the civilian deaths, Yemen announced that it will no longer give the US permission to conduct ground missions in the country, reports The New York Times.
"So, OK, it wasn't a total failure, but you can't call it a success either - because we lost a soldier, others were wounded and some bystanders, innocent civilians, were killed", he said.
He said reports that Yemen has demanded a halt to USA special operations are "not true". "But the courageous men who [went] on that mission and risked their lives in an effort to rescue us prisoners of war were genuine American heroes", he said.
Owens, 36, from Peoria, Ill., was the first known USA military combat casualty since President Donald Trump took office January 20.
McCain has also done some cleaning up for the ham-handed Trump.