A British couple whose son was killed in a traffic accident involving a U.S. diplomat’s wife has balked at President Donald Trump’s surprise effort to have them meet with the woman at the White House, saying they would only talk with her if she returns to Britain to face charges.
Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn met with Trump in the Oval Office on Tuesday, seeking to have diplomatic immunity waived for the envoy’s wife, Anne Sacoolas, so she could stand trial in Britain for driving on the wrong side of a British road and colliding head-on with a motorcycle driven by their son, 19-year-old Harry Dunn.
Sacoolas has not been charged with criminal wrongdoing. She was interviewed by police about the Aug. 27 accident and stayed three weeks in Britain, but then returned to the United States. The U.S. refused to waive diplomatic immunity in the case, which often shields envoys and their families from facing criminal charges while serving in foreign lands.
The couple said Wednesday that while Trump was sympathetic about the death of their son, they were taken aback when he told them that Sacoolas was in the building, and pressed them to meet with her in front of photographers.
Charles told CBS News on Wednesday, “He was willing to listen, didn’t interrupt me at all.”
She said that emotionally, it would not have been good for her, her husband or Sacoolas to meet on such short notice without therapists or mediators present.
“None of us know how we’re going to react, to have that put on us,” she said. “She needs to come back and face the justice system.”
The couple’s spokesman, Radd Seiger, described the White House meeting as little more than a bad attempt at a photo opportunity.
“It struck us that this meeting was hastily arranged by nincompoops on the run,” Seiger said.
Trump on Wednesday described the meeting as “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.
Charles said that 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.'”your ad herer