On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said that his meeting with the parents of British teen Harry Dunn, which was widely criticized, was “beautiful”. But for the parents grieving the loss of their son in a car crash, their time at the White House was more of an “ambush” in which they quickly became “rabbits in the headlights,” said their spokesman, Radd Seiger.
Seiger told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper Full Circle”, “It didn’t feel beautiful,” as he was recalling the meeting between Dunn’s parents and Trump. “The word circus came to mind. We were just the actors there,” Seiger added.
Seiger recalled that though Trump offers condolences to the family, he has immediately dropped the bombshell that Anne Sacoolas – the American woman whose car struck their son, British police say – was willing to meet and was in the next room. Seiger told Cooper he shot down the idea, saying: “No, Mr. President, that’s not why we’re here.”
He asserted that he explained to Trump that the circumstances were not appropriate. “If we ever do this, it’s going to be in England when she (Sacoolas) is going through the court system,” Seiger claimed.
The 19-year-old Dunn was killed in August when his motorcycle was hit by a car that police say was driven by Sacoolas, who has acknowledged that she was driving on the wrong side of the road at the time of the crash.
Sacoolas, as the wife of a US government official, stated that diplomatic immunity under international law and returned to the United States a few weeks later. The parents of Harry Dunn, Tim Dunn, and Charlotte Charles told CBS that the meeting took their breath away.
Trump stated on Wednesday that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked him to set up the meeting. Denying Trump’s claim, on Thursday, a spokesperson for Johnson said, “The PM and the president spoke last Wednesday, and the PM asked the president to do all he could to resolve the issue.”
“During the conversation, the president raised a possibility of a meeting with Anne Sacoolas at the White House, but at that stage, we weren’t aware of any plans for the family to go (to the United States) so it wasn’t discussed further.”
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley on Thursday defended the president’s actions. Trump “wasn’t trying to ambush anybody,” said Gidley.
The parents have long expressed their desire to meet with Sacoolas but they have maintained that they want any meeting to take place on Britain with trained mental health experts on hand to help both sides.