The mission’s casualties have raised doubts about the months of detailed planning that went into the operation, initially during the Obama administration, and whether the right questions were raised before its approval, which took place over a dinner Mr. Trump held with top advisers five days after taking office. Senior Trump administration officials said that the Defense Department had conducted a legal review of the mission and that a Pentagon lawyer had signed off on it.
But the comments by Mr. Owens, his first public remarks since his son’s death, cast a new spotlight on whether the mission’s risks — to the American commandos and to Yemeni civilians — had been considered fully enough by Mr. Trump and his top aides.
On Feb. 1, Mr. Trump flew to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to be present as the body of Chief Owens, who was known as Ryan, was returned to the United States. His death was the first in the military on the new commander in chief’s watch.
“I’m sorry; I don’t want to see him,” Mr. Owens recalled telling a chaplain who had informed him that Mr. Trump was on his way from Washington. “I told them I don’t want to meet the president.”
“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” Mr. Owens said in the interview, which The Herald said took place on Friday at Mr. Owens’s home in Lauderdale-by-the Sea, Fla.
“Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn’t even barely a week into his administration? Why?” said Mr. Owens, who told The Herald that he had not voted for Mr. Trump. “For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. Now all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?”
The operation was the first known American-led ground mission in Yemen since December 2014, when…