Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a U.S. intelligence officer who killed 19-year-old motorcyclist Harry Dunn this August when driving down the wrong side of an English road, fled back to the United States claiming diplomatic immunity.
Last week, President Donald Trump was asked if he would waive Sacoolas's diplomatic immunity so she could be held accountable with British law enforcement for the teen's death. Many found his response lacking in tact:
“The woman was driving on the wrong side of the road. That can happen. Those are the opposite side of the road. I won’t say it ever happened to me, but it but it did.”
Now, Dunn's grieving parents have come to the United States in an effort to mobilize others in compelling Sacoolas to return to the U.K. to stand trial. When the family got a call from Trump's National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien to meet with President Trump, they thought they might get the help they had hoped for. What unfolded instead was anything but.
During their White House meeting with Trump, the president informed them that Sacoolas was present in the building. He and his team had planned for Sacoolas to enter through a side door to meet and reconcile with the Dunns in front of a pool of photographers.
The Dunns refused.
In a statement released on the family's GoFundMe page, the Dunns described the meeting:
"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 Wass obviously designed to be a press call."
A meeting that they described as:
"It struck us that this meeting was hastily arranged by nincompoops on the run and in particular Mr O’Brien who appeared to be extremely uptight and aggressive and did not come across at all well in this meeting which required careful handling and sensitivity.
As for how they hope to resolve the situation:
"The family remain open to the possibility of meeting Mrs Sacoolas one day in the future but in a neutral and appropriately controlled environment. Harry’s family would far rather find a political and diplomatic solution to the issue."
The family has previously stated that they would only meet Sacoolas on British soil, mandating that she return to England from the U.S.
People felt for the family, who felt "ambushed" by the meeting.
@PhilipRucker Trump doesn’t have an empathetic bone in his body. If there’s nothing in it for him (like a photo op)… https://t.co/cPGqzi30zf— Michelle Zink (@Michelle Zink)1571230951.0
@PhilipRucker @maggieNYT The central tenet of this administration is unspeakable, absolute cruelty.— Martin Drake (@Martin Drake)1571230838.0
@PhilipRucker Only a guy who cares more about optics than substance would do this and of course there's the empathy thing...— Robin Bellerby (@Robin Bellerby)1571231738.0
@PhilipRucker You want to ask "What was Trump thinking??" but that takes you down a rabbit hole that leads directly to the swamp— JudithKlinger (@JudithKlinger)1571230661.0
@PhilipRucker This poor family has been through enough. Why he has to make everything worse is beyond me.— KC (@KC)1571231363.0
@PhilipRucker @morningmika Everyone's a prop for a photo opp, no matter the misery attached.— Donna Marie (@Donna Marie)1571232077.0
@PhilipRucker For the Love of Humanity have these grifters in the White House any Sense of Decency? There's a speci… https://t.co/rgj2KPvDxj— Mary Frank (@Mary Frank)1571231900.0
The Dunn family plans to continue their efforts to get justice for their son, and not in a way that exploits him.