The parents of Harry Dunn — an English man killed in August by a U.S. diplomat’s wife who later fled the country — said the Trump administration attempted to “surprise” them with an introduction to the woman who fatally struck their son with a car, a meeting to take place in front of the White House press corps.
Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn — who are in the U.S. advocating for Anne Sacoolas to be brought back to England for justice — were invited to the White House Tuesday and met with President Trump.
Mr. Dunn said Mr. Trump “was sorry about Harry and then he sprung the surprise that Mrs. Sacoolas was in another room in the building and whether we want to meet her there and then,” according to Law & Crime.
Police say Mrs. Sacoolas was driving 60 miles an hour the wrong way down a road outside a military installation on Aug. 27 when she collided with teenager Dunn on his motorcycle, killing him, according to The New York Times.
Mrs. Sacoolas made the investigation more complicated when she invoked diplomatic immunity and left the country despite telling British authorities earlier on that she did not plan to do so.
As the U.S. Embassy in London has said it wouldn’t get involved, Ms. Charles and Mr. Dunn have called on Mr. Trump to help them get justice and visited Washington to personally press for Mrs. Sacoolas’ return to the U.K.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week pledged to personally lobby Mr. Trump for Mrs. Sacoolas’ return to the U.K. if she did not voluntarily return to the country to appear for legal proceedings.
For their part, the Dunn family has said if it were to meet Mrs. Sacoolas in person it would have to be on their terms, including that it occur “only on British soil.”
Radd Seiger, a spokesperson for the Dunn family, said the mother and father felt “ambushed” by the “bombshell” that Mrs. Sacoolas was waiting next door.
“Mrs. Sacoolas was present in the building,” he wrote on the family’s GoFundMe page. “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.”
He also ripped National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien as a “nincompoop” for the “hastily arranged” meeting.
“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,” Mr. Seiger wrote. “The family remain open to the possibility of meeting Mrs. Sacoolas one day in the future but in a neutral and appropriately controlled environment.”
Ms. Charles told British media that up until the attempted surprise introduction, she was deeply comforted by Mr. Trump and called him “quite respondent.”
“When he [President Trump] held my hand, I gripped it a lot tighter and I was honest with him and just said, as I said a while ago, ‘If it was your son you would be doing the same as us,’” Ms. Charles said. “He actually gripped my hand a little bit tighter and said ‘Yes I would be.’ And that’s when he said he would try and look at this from a different angle.”
Mrs. Sacoolas’ lawyer, Amy Jeffress, issued a statement on her behalf apologizing for the case and adding that the media is reporting it wrong.
“Anne is devastated by this tragic accident,” the statement says, according to The Daily Beast. “No loss compares to the death of a child and Anne extends her deepest sympathy to Harry Dunn’s family.”
The Dunns are hoping to meet with the president again despite what occurred at the meeting on Tuesday.
“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,” Mr. Seiger wrote. “They look forward to engaging with the president again as soon as possible.”