President Donald Trump turned to Twitter Thursday morning to attack Sen. John McCain for criticising a US military raid in Yemen.
“Sen. McCain should not be talking about the success or failure of a mission to the media,” Trump tweeted. “Only emboldens the enemy!”
He continued: “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 then went on to say that Ryan Owens, the US service member who died in the raid, died on a “winning mission.”
McCain called the raid a “failure” earlier this week. He later walked back his “failure” remark in a statement but continued to challenge the success of the raid.
“I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success,” he said.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer also criticised McCain for his comments earlier this week.
“I think anybody who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology … to the life of Chief Owens,” he said in response to a question about McCain’s comments.
The raid on Al Qaeda forces in Yemen was Trump’s first significant military action as president. It resulted in the deaths of a Navy SEAL, an eight-year-old girl, 14 al Qaeda militants, and about 30 other civilians.
NBC reported that the raid intended to take out Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s leader Qassim Al-Rimi, who survived the raid and later mocked Trump on an audio recording.
The NBC report quotes a senior military official as saying “almost everything went wrong” with the dead-of-night raid where a $70 million MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft suffered a hard landing and then had to be destroyed in place by a US Marine Corps Harrier jet.
Alex Lockie contributed to this report.
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