EXECUTIVE

Pence appears to enter debate over criticism of Yemen raid

President reacts to McCain's criticism of Yemen raid, Blumenthal's Gorsuch comment claims

 

Vice President Pence late Thursday night appeared to side with President Trump in criticizing Sen. John McCain for downplaying the success of last month’s terror raid in Yemen that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL.

Pence took to twitter to say that U.S. soldiers and their families are in his prayers and he “will always support our troops, not second-guess them, & we’ll never call their service or sacrifice a failure.”

McCain said in a Wednesday statement that he “would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer later fired back, saying “anyone who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] a disservice,” but didn’t mention McCain by name. Trump, however, held nothing back.

While the military reported taking a trove of information following the Jan. 29 nighttime raid on an Al Qaeda compound, Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens was killed and three other troops were wounded. U.S. forces also were forced to destroy an MV-22 Osprey aircraft after a “hard landing.”

“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,” Trump wrote in a series of morning tweets. “Our hero Ryan died on a winning mission (according to [Secretary of Defense] General Mattis), not a ‘failure.’ Time for the U.S. to get smart and start winning again!”

"Several of [the Trump tweets] cracked me up," McCain said later Thursday. "I can't comment on what the president does and I won't, but one of the things I've learned over the years here -- frankly, one of the guys I learned this from was Ted Kennedy -- he said you can ferociously defend your position or take the offense, but not get personal and you can move onto another issue or move on.