Donald Trump surprised two grieving parents with their son’s murderer.
British parents say they felt ambushed when Trump tried to get them to meet with the woman who killed their son in a car crash in front of the press, the couple’s attorneys said on Wednesday. The day before, Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn traveled to Washington on a mission to have the woman, an American, lifted from her diplomatic immunity. But rather than just go with the original plan, Trump decided to surprise the family by inviting the driver, Anne Sacoolas, to the White House and insisted that the parents meet with her in front of the White Press corps.
Attorney Mark Stephens told The Associated Press the couple had no idea Sacoolas would be in the building when they were there Tuesday and were shocked by the move. While the two wanted to meet the woman at some point, they explained that the surprise meeting was not the place or the time. “If there’s going to be a meeting like that, it should not involve a surprise, a jack-in-the-box, pop-out-of-a-circus-tent meeting seven weeks after the loss,” said Radd Seiger, a retired lawyer who is a neighbor of the family and accompanied them to the White House. “For this to happen, you would want some heavy-duty therapy, and you want to meet in a neutral environment.”
Trump told reporters Wednesday that he thought the family had wanted to meet with Sacoolas, but that “they weren’t ready for it” Tuesday. “It was very sad, to be honest,” he said of their conversation. “They lost their son.”
Trump said he spoke with Sacoolas, who was waiting in a room near the Oval Office when he asked the victim’s family. “They weren’t ready for it,” Trump said. “But I did offer. I spoke with Boris. He asked me if I’d do that. And I did it,” Trump said, referring to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “Unfortunately, when we had everybody together, they decided not to meet. Perhaps they had lawyers involved by that time. I don’t know exactly.”
Harry Dunn, 19, was killed back in August when his motorcycle was hit by a car that was allegedly driven by Sacoolas outside a British air force base in southern England used by the U.S. military. Seiger said the family received a call from the White House on Tuesday, inviting them to meet with a “very senior government official” whose identity was not revealed. When the family arrived, they said they were pressure to meet with Sacoolas against their will. “We were ambushed,” he said of the situation, putting most of the blame on O’Brien, who replaced former national security adviser John Bolton last month after serving as the president’s chief hostage negotiator. “When we said, ‘No,’ he erupted in fury in front of my poor people. This guy was a thug, and he was intimidating,” Seiger said.