MIAMI (CBSMiami) –There was plenty of applause during President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress Tuesday night, but the longest ovation was reserved for the heartbroken widow of an American hero.
“Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. Thank you. Thank you,” said the president talking about Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens killed in Yemen during a raid just days into Trump’s presidency.
It was one of the few moments of the night that brought both Republicans and Democrats to their feet.
“Ryan died as he lived: a warrior and a hero — battling against terrorism and securing our nation,” said Trump.
Applause in the House chamber went on for more than 90 seconds.
Carryn Owens lost her husband Senior Chief Petty Officer William ‘Ryan’ Owens in a late January raid against an Al-Qaida hideout in a remote area of central Yemen. The nighttime operation had been planned for months but it did not receive presidential approval until Trump gave the go ahead about a week into his term.
“I just spoke to General Mattis, just now, who reconfirmed that, and I quote, ‘Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence,’” said the president.
Some have questioned whether that intelligence was worth the cost like Arizona Senator John McCain.
“We lost a 75 million dollar airplane, individual killed and others wounded…That’s not a success in my view,” said McCain.
Early on Tuesday, President Trump said he signed off on the raid on the advice of the top brass.
“My generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan,” said the president during an interview on Fox News.
That comment angered some Democrats who said he was passing the buck.
Owens’ father, who lives in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, refused to shake the president’s hand last month and is calling for an investigation into what he has described as a “stupid mission.”
A White House aide has said President Trump would likely welcome an investigation into Owens’ death.