British parents decline Trump’s offer to meet with American woman responsible for their son’s death in Oval Office media spec
On August 27, 19-year-old British motorcyclist Harry Dunn was killed in the U.K. after Anne Sacoolas — the American wife of a U.S. intelligence official — collided with him. The 42-year-old Sacoolas, according to the Daily Beast, was driving a Volvo SUV on the wrong road side of the road. And Tuesday, the Beast’s Barbie Latza Nadeau reports, President Donald Trump made an unsuccessful attempt to bring Sacoolas and Dunn’s parents , Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles, together.
Sacoolas was not arrested after the accident. But on September 15, Northamptonshire Police wanted to question her in a wrongful death inquiry. By that point, however, Sacoolas had left the U.K. along with her husband, claiming diplomatic immunity — and according to the Beast, they were advised by the U.S. State Department to leave.
An official statement from the U.S. State Department read, “We express our deepest sympathies and offer condolences to the family of the deceased in the tragic August 27 traffic accident involving a vehicle driven by the spouse of a U.S. diplomat assigned to the United Kingdom. We can confirm the family has left the U.K.”
Since then, Dunn’s parents have visited Washington, D.C. in the hope of getting Sacoolas to return to the U.K. to face justice. And according to Nadeau, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien invited the family to visit Trump in the White House. Trump, Nadeau reports, evidently hoped to bring the Dunn's parents and Sacoolas together.
Nadeau reports, “The whole scene would be captured by a pool of photographers who had been summoned for the meeting, but the Dunns would have none of it and refused to meet her.”
According to Radd Seiger, a spokesman for the family, they said they felt “ambushed” upon learning that Sacoolas was nearby. Seiger told the Beast they did want to meet Sacoolas at some point, but not in Washington, D.C. and “only on British soil…. with mediators, counselors and their legal team in tow.”
On the Dunns’ GoFundMe page Justice4Harry, Seiger posted an explanation this week, writing, “the parents of Harry Dunn and their adviser and spokesman, Radd Seiger, were invited to the Oval Office at the White House on 15 October, 2019, where they met with President Trump and other officials, including Robert O’Brien, national security adviser. The president offered his condolences to the family, which were warmly received.”
Seiger went on to say, “The family had four surprises yesterday — firstly, being invited to the White House in the first place, which came right out of the blue. Secondly, that they were meeting the president himself. Thirdly, that Mrs. Sacoolas was present in the building, and fourthly, that it was the president’s intention for Harry’s family to meet Mrs. Sacoolas in the Oval Office in front of several photographers in what was obviously designed to be a press call.”
The Dunn family's spokesman added, “Harry’s family would far rather find a political and diplomatic solution to the issue. President Trump hinted at the end of the meeting, having heard Charlotte’s appeal, that he may look at approaching the problem from a different angle. Notwithstanding the nature of the meeting yesterday, the family would welcome any such further intervention so that this nightmare scenario can be brought to an end. They look forward to engaging with the president again as soon as possible.”
Sacoolas’ attorney, Amy Jeffress, has offered an official statement, saying, “Anne is devastated by this tragic accident. No loss compares to the death of a child and Anne extends her deepest sympathy to Harry Dunn’s family.”