BY JOE CONCHA – 03/01/17 09:25 AM EST, originally posted at The Hill
Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore on Tuesday slammed President Trump’s address to Congress, saying the president “used” the widow of a slain Navy SEAL as an “f-you” to those criticizing the raid on an al Qaeda base in Yemen that killed him.
Carryn Owens, the widow of Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens, was in the audience during Trump’s speech and received a standing ovation from the chamber as she fought back tears.
Moore said Trump invited Owens as a prop to deflect criticism of the mission.
“That’s why she’s there, as sort of an ‘f-you’ to the people who are criticizing him for this,” Moore told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews after the address. “And this poor woman, this widow who has lost her husband, she is in desperate grief right now.
“To use that to put another notch on his belt — and what is he thinking about? ‘My ratings. Record applause. I’m going to get an Emmy for this! Most applause for a dead soldier on my watch!’”
“This is the sickness of this man,” Moore concluded.
Ryan Owens was killed on Jan. 29 in a special forces raid, marking the first U.S. serviceman lost in combat with Trump as commander in chief.
The mission was planned during the Obama administration, and Trump approved the raid days after taking office.
In addition to Owens, 20 civilians were killed in the attack, including a number of children, along with 14 al Qaeda militants.
Trump has called the mission a success because of intelligence gathered in the raid.
Earlier Tuesday, the president faced criticism when he appeared to blame the generals who planned the raid for the Owens’s death when responding to a question about criticism from the SEAL’s father, saying “they lost” Owens.
Owens’s father, Bill Owens, has called for an investigation into his son’s death, saying the raid was a “stupid mission” and questioning why Trump approved it.
Liberal commentator Van Jones praised Trump for having Carryn Owens at his speech.
There are a lot of people who have a lot of reason to be frustrated with him, to be fearful of him, to be mad of him, but that was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics, period,” Jones said on CNN after the address.
“And for people who had been hoping he would become unifying, hoping that he might find someway to become presidential, they should be happy with that moment,” Jones added.
“For people who have been hoping that maybe he would remain a divisive cartoon, which he often finds a way to do, they should be a little bit worried tonight. Because that thing you just saw him do, if he finds a way to do that over and over again, he’s going to be there for eight years.”
A CNN/ORC poll showed 78 percent of respondents reacted positively to Trump’s speech.