Trump criticised for joking about fallen hero
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday faced criticism from some netizens after he joked about a slain Navy SEAL during his maiden address to Congress, saying the fallen hero must be smiling for breaking "a record" of receiving sustained applause.
Trump in his joint address to Congress honoured US Navy SEAL William 'Ryan' Owens, who died late last month during a military raid in Yemen authorised by his administration.
"We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of a US Navy Special Operator, Senior Chief William 'Ryan' Owens'," Trump said to heartfelt applause.
"Ryan died as he lived: a warrior, and a hero battling against terrorism and securing our nation."
The joint chamber then honoured Owens' widow with a lengthy standing ovation.
Trump responded to the applause for Owens with an off-script comment of the night: "Ryan is looking down right now, you know that, and he's very happy, because you know what? I think he just broke a record." The audience laughed.
The joke about Owens being "very happy" about the applause sparked ire in some of Trump s critics, who found the joke disrespectful.
"Trump's highest compliment to a fallen warrior is that HE BROKE AN APPLAUSE RECORD," Ana Marie Cox tweeted.
"Ryan died for that laugh line," another netizen wrote.
"Did...did Trump just say a slain Navy SEAL is looking down happily from heaven because his mention broke an applause record?" Eric Geller tweeted.
"They lost Ryan. They? WE. He was one of OURS. YOU gave the order. Take some responsibility," another netizen said.
The negative response to Trump was by no means universal and many Twitter users also backed Trump for his remarks.