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In an emotional moment, President Donald Trump and Congress on Tuesday honored the wife of the first military service member killed in combat during the president's administration.
While speaking about the need to increase funding for veterans during his joint address to Congress, Trump took a moment to pay tribute to his guest, the wife of slain Navy SEAL William Owens. Owens was killed in a raid on Yemen on Jan. 25, five days into the new administration.
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“We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a U.S. Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William ‘Ryan’ Owens," Trump said. "Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero — battling against terrorism and securing our nation.”
Trump said Owens’ “legacy is etched into eternity.”
Looking at Carryn, the president joked that Ryan Owens would be very happy with the applause — the longest of the night — “because I think he just broke a record.”
All those present in the Capitol stood and clapped while Owens’ widow cried, clasped her hands and looked toward the heavens — mouthing the words “thank you” — in a poignant moment. Trump had previously met Carryn, who was seated next to Ivanka Trump, when he attended the arrival of her husband’s casket at the airport.
Not in attendance at the speech was Owens’ father, William, who has said the raid was unnecessary and needs to be investigated by Congress. William refused to meet Trump when the president met his son’s casket.
During the speech, Trump refuted critics of the mission.
“I just spoke to (Defense Secretary) 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 that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies,’” Trump said.
Though the firefight led to the death of Owens and a number of local children, numerous Pentagon officials told NBC News that the raid bore no significant intelligence.
During an interview on “Fox and Friends" earlier Tuesday, Trump sidestepped any blame for Owens death, stating that the plan for the raid was made by military officials before he took the oath of office.