President Donald Trump on Wednesday again appeared to defend an American woman suspected of killing a British teenager in a wrong-way driving crash in the U.K., telling reporters that driving in Europe is “very tough if you’re from the United States.”
Trump made the remarks one day after a White House meeting with the parents of 19-year-old Harry Dunn, who was killed when his motorcycle collided with a vehicle that police said was driven on the wrong side of the road by Anne Sacoolas. Sacoolas, who is married to U.S. diplomat Jonathan Sacoolas, later fled the U.K. for the U.S. and claimed diplomatic immunity, preventing her from facing charges in the case ― to the upset of Dunn’s family.
Trump said he had a “very good meeting” with Dunn’s parents, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn, and said they were “very nice people.”
“It was very sad, to be honest,” Trump said Wednesday. “They lost their son. I believe it was going down the wrong way because that happens in Europe. You go to Europe and the roads are opposite. And it’s very tough if you’re from the U.S. ... That happens to a lot of people by the way,” he said.
Trump previously called the teen’s death a “terrible accident,” which he said “happens.”
“When you get used to one (driving) system and then you’re all of a sudden on the other system where you’re driving, it happens. You have to be careful,” the president told reporters last week.
Dunn’s family has traveled to the U.S. to plead with American officials to reconsider Sacoolas’ diplomatic immunity, a legal shield that diplomats and their families have from host country laws during foreign service.
His parents said on Tuesday they were unpleasantly caught off guard when they arrived at the White House for what they thought would be a meeting with an administration official. Instead, they were told they would be meeting Trump, and that Sacoolas was in the building and willing to meet with them.
A family spokesperson said Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, hoped they’d hug it out for media photos.
Trump “said he was sorry about Harry and then he sprung the surprise that Mrs. Sacoolas was in another room in the building and whether we want to meet her there and then,” Tim Dunn said. “We said no, because as we’ve been saying from the start we want to meet Mrs. Sacoolas, but we want to do it in the U.K. so the police can interview her.
“We didn’t want to be sort of railroaded, not into a circus as such, but a meeting we weren’t prepared for,” he added.
Trump and O’Brien have said they have ruled out Sacoolas’ return to Britain.