On Wednesday, President Donald Trump abruptly left the White House and walked aboard Marine One with his daughter Ivanka to depart on an unannounced trip to Dover Air Force Base to honor the Navy SEAL that was killed in Yemen over the weekend. The 36-year-old Chief Special Warfare Operator, William “Ryan” Owens, was scheduled to arrive at the base in the afternoon, and the President went to witness the dignified transfer of his remains. A small group of reporters accompanied him and his daughter to the base, on the condition that no one would report where they were going until they arrived.
The White House Press Office released the following statement:
POTUS and daughter Ivanka emerged from the Oval Office at 2:57 p.m. under cloudy skies on a chilly winter day, with Trump wearing a long, dark overcoat that was unbuttoned, allowing his signature blue tie to show. She was wearing black and blue overcoat that was buttoned, and carrying a black handbag. The first daughter had her blonde hair pulled up.
POTUS and his daughter walked slowly toward Marine One, Trump giving the pool a brief wave.
At 2:58 p.m., Ivanka boarded the executive helicopter first, followed by her father, who saluted the Marine as he started up the stairs.
At 3 p.m., the engines fired up, and two minutes later Marine One lifted off from the South Lawn.
A short while later, the White House Press Office released a second statement, revealing the destination of the President:
POTUS is arriving shortly or has already arrived in Marine One at Dover Air Force Base for arrival of remains of a US commando killed early Sunday in Yemen during a raid on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Pentagon has identified the deceased as Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens, 36, of Peoria, Ill. Multiple news outlets have said Owens was a member of SEAL Team 6. The death occurred during the first counter-terrorism operation of the Trump presidency.
Sen. Chris Coons (D) of Delaware is accompanying POTUS on the visit to Dover AFB.
Owens lost his life while conducting the first raid on Al Qaeda headquarters while President Trump has been Commander in Chief. Four other service members were wounded during the U.S.-led operation that resulting in the team taking out 14 Al Qaeda members and retrieving computer material pertinent to gathering information about planned terrorist plots. Trump released a statement following the incident.
“Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism. The sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed forces, and the families they leave behind, are the backbone of the liberty we hold so dear as Americans, united in our pursuit of a safer nation and a freer world. My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member. I also pray for a quick and complete recovery for the brave service members who sustained injuries,” the President said.