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President Trump approved his first raid in the Middle East in late January.
The raid, which had initially been planned during former President Obama’s administration, led to the deaths of one member of Navy SEAL Team Six (Ryan Owens), several civilians and several al-Qaeda fighters.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer previously called the raid “a successful” operation. However, Al-Qaeda head Qassim al-Rimi, the high-profile target of the raid, survived the attack. An authentic recording shows al-Rimi taunting the president’s administration. White House and Pentagon did not initially comment on the video.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and others have pushed against the White House’s use of “success.” In fact, McCain called the raid a “failure” in an interview with Buzzfeed.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer addressed McCain’s criticism on Wednesday, saying, “It’s absolutely a success. Anyone who would suggest it’s not a success does a disservice to Ryan Owens.”
Spicer again called the raid a “huge success.”
In response to the raid, Yemeni government has since prohibited American special operations in the country.