Trump Goes After McCain After He Says Yemen Raid Wasn't a 'Success'
This isn't the first time Trump has been critical of McCain.
By MEGHAN KENEALLY
February 9, 2017, 6:38 PM
• 6 min read
-- President Donald Trump has started another war of words with Arizona Sen. John McCain over whether a recent raid in Yemen — in which a Navy SEAL and a number of civilians, including women and children, were killed — was a success.
McCain, the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told NBC on Wednesday that when a mission leads to the loss of life, "I don't believe you can call it a success."
"My understanding of the parameters of the raid were that they wanted to capture individuals, and obviously they didn't want to kill children or women,” McCain said.
U.S. Central Command said in a statement, "A team designated by the operational task force commander has concluded regrettably that civilian noncombatants were likely killed in the midst of a firefight during a raid in Yemen Jan. 29. Casualties may include children." It is reviewing claims of civilian casualties.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer criticized McCain during Wednesday's press briefing, saying, " Anybody who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] disservice to the life of Chief [Naval Surface Warfare Operator William 'Ryan'] Owens."
Spicer called the raid a "huge success," though he said in a press briefing on Feb. 2 that "it's hard to ever say something was successful when you lose a life."
His defense didn't stop Trump from slamming McCain in a series of tweets this morning.
"Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media. Only emboldens the enemy! He's been losing so long he doesn't know how to win anymore, just look at the mess our country is in - bogged down in conflict all over the place. Our hero Ryan died on a winning mission (according to General Mattis), not a 'failure.' Time for the U.S. to get smart and start winning again!" Trump wrote.
This is not the only time that Trump has been openly critical of McCain. Shortly after launching his presidential campaign, Trump said McCain is "not a war hero. He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured."
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of civilian deaths in the raid. Reprieve says it has accounted for 23 civilian deaths.