WASHINGTON: The parents of a British teen killed in a road crash involving a US diplomat’s wife feel their meeting with President Donald Trump was little more than a sloppy attempt at a photo op, their spokesman said Wednesday.
Tim Dunn and Charlotte Charles were invited Tuesday to the White House, where they met with Donald Trump, and were infomed that the diplomat’s wife was in the building — and that Trump wanted them to meet with her in front of photographers.
“It struck us that this meeting was hastily arranged by nincompoops on the run,” said the spokesman, Radd Seiger.
The couple refused to meet the woman, Anne Sacoolas, feeling neither the time nor place were right.
Harry Dunn, aged 19, died on August 27 in a head-on collision between his motorcycle and a car being driven on the wrong side of the road in Northamptonshire in central England.
Sacoolas was interviewed by police about the deadly incident but flew back to the United States after claiming diplomatic immunity.
She has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing, but her claim of immunity and return to the United States have provoked an uproar in Britain.
Charles said that she and her husband do want to meet with Sacoolas — but in Britain.
“She needs to come back and face the justice system,” Charles said after the 15-minute meeting.
In an interview Wednesday morning with CBS News, the parents avoided any criticism of Trump, describing him as warm and welcoming in the White House meeting.
“He was willing to listen, didn’t interrupt me at all,” Charles said.
She said that emotionally it would not be good for her, her husband or for Sacoolas to meet on such short notice, without therapists or mediators present.
“None of us know how we were going to react, to have that put on us,” Charles said.
Trump pressed them repeatedly to meet with Sacoolas.
“He did ask two or three times,” Dunn said.
Trump said Wednesday the meeting “was really beautiful in a certain way.”
“It was very sad, to be honest. They lost their son. I believe it was going down the wrong way because it happens in Europe. You go to Europe and the roads are opposite. It is very tough if you are from the United States,” Trump said.
In his surprise meeting with Dunn’s parents, Trump indicated Sacoolas would not be returning to Britain but was sympathetic.
At the end of the meeting “I asked him again, ‘If it was your 19-year-old son, or your son no matter what age, you would be doing the same as me.’ And he was holding my hand at the time and he said, ‘Yes, I would’ and he said, ‘Maybe we’ll try and push this from a different angle’,” Charles said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for Sacoolas to return to Britain, saying: “I do not think that it can be right to use the process of diplomatic immunity for this type of purpose.”