The sole Navy SEAL veteran congressman told Breitbart News the special warfare community prefers not to discuss operations — such as the raid in which Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens was killed — but President Donald Trump’s salute to his widow Carryn Owens was an important event for the community and the nation.
“It was one of the most powerful things I have ever seen,” said Rep. Scott Taylor (R.-Va.), who, with the swearing-in of former congressman Ryan Zinke as the Interior Secretary, becomes the only Navy SEAL veteran serving in Congress.
“I was just blown away,” he said. “She was obviously very strong, and obviously, my community is very proud of her.”
In his first address to a joint session of Congress, Trump singled out Owens as she sat next to the president’s older daughter Ivanka Trump.
“Ryan died as he lived,” the president said as the standing ovation from the House floor and the packed galleries crescendoed for two minutes and the widow dressed in black alternated between looking to the president and the crowd and then up to Heaven. “Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity.”
Taylor said what Americans witnessed in the House of Representatives Tuesday evening was just a sample of the cost paid by less than one percent of the population.
“That’s a family that was committed, and they believed in what they were doing,” he said.
“It’s a horrible thing, but it is also good for the nation to see that, because most of the nation has not joined into the sacrifice,” he said.
The congressman said he was with the president at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, for the Feb. 1 ceremonial receiving of the remains of the fallen SEAL.
“Everybody was quiet,” he said. “The president was right behind me, and I heard him say to himself: ‘Man, this is really tough.’ That’s so important. Not just that he was there, but that he understands the costs as well, because of his decisions to send people into harm’s way.”
Political opponents of the president have called the Yemen raid a “botched raid” and used it as an example of Trump’s failure as the commander-in-chief.
“Our community would prefer for it not to be a political football,” Taylor said.
“I think it’s a shame–honestly–that some folks are trying to use it politically,” he said. “It is bad for the legacy of Ryan and his family.”
Taylor said he traveled in and out of Yemen after his Navy career ended, and it is a troubled and complicated part of the world.
Because of the terrorists, such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, as well as criminal elements in Yemen, it is worthy of select missions, but he would oppose a full-scale boots-on-the-ground invasion.
The congressman said he has no issues with negative statements made in the press by the fallen SEAL’s father, Bill Owens.
Gold Star parents and Gold Star family members have the right to say whatever they want to say, given the price they paid, he said.
Taylor spoke to Breitbart News moments after the president finished.
It was the best speech he has heard the president give, he said.
“He discussed unity, not only within the nation but within the parties,” he added.
It was excellent the way Trump called people to come together to do big things, he said. “That is why I am here, and that’s what my Democratic peers in my freshman class want to do, too. I just hope the Democratic leadership wants the same thing.”