The spot was pitched as a “pre-rebuttal” to Trump’s Republican National Convention address Thursday night.
Trump ordered a raid on Yemen during dinner at his Mar-a-Lago golf resort just days after he became president. (He commented months later that he ate the “most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” at his club’s restaurant after ordering a missile strike on Syria.)
Trump “wanted to play the big man going to war,” lamented Gold Star dad Bill Owens in the VoteVets spot. His son, William Ryan Owens, was the first combat death in the Trump administration in what was widely regarded as a poorly planned raid.
Owens’s son was the only American killed in the raid, which targeted al Qaeda leader Qasim al-Raymi. As many as 30 civilians and 14 al Qaeda fighters also died.
“Just five days into his presidency, Trump ordered Ryan’s SEAL team into Yemen — not from the Situation Room with all the intelligence assembled, but sitting across a dinner table from Steve Bannon,” Owens said. (Bannon was indicted on fraud charges last week in a “build the wall” scheme.)
There was “no vital interest in play,” Owens added. “And when it went horribly wrong. Donald Trump demeaned my son’s sacrifice to play to the crowd.” Trump blamed anyone he could think of — generals, the military, even former President Barack Obama — for the tragedy after the hastily ordered operation.
Trump has “assailed our country’s core values” for nearly four years, Owens declared.
“When Russia put bounties on our troops’ heads, Trump defended [Russian President Vladimir] Putin instead of our military,” he added. “He kneecapped the Postal Service to undermine our right to vote. He’s misled us throughout the pandemic; 200,000 Americans will have died before we vote.”
Owens concluded: “They and Ryan have one thing in common: It didn’t have to be but for Donald Trump. If you hear one thing, let it be this: Don’t trust Donald Trump with your kid’s life — or your own.”
Check out the video in the VoteVets tweet above.