The White House press pool was caught off guard this afternoon, when President Donald Trump made an unannounced trip to honor the returning remains of a U.S. Navy SEAL killed during a weekend raid on an al-Qaida base in Yemen, AP reports. Trump was to arrive Wednesday afternoon at Delaware's Dover Air Force Base.
Trump abruptly left the White House with his daughter, Ivanka, shortly before 3 p.m. to travel to the base. The visit was previously unannounced.
Sen. Chris Coons accompanied the president during the visit, which was closed to the press.
Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens, a 36-year-old from Peoria, Illinois, was the first known U.S. combat casualty since Trump took office less than two weeks ago. Three other Americans were wounded in the operation, which was planned by former President Barack Obama's administration but approved by Trump.
Questions have been raised about the raid, which U.S. officials said left 14 al-Qaeda fighters dead and resulted in the capture of sensitive intelligence. The 8-year-old daughter of U.S.-born al Qaeda fighter Anwar al-Awlaki was also killed in the operation. Al-Awlaki, a former top al-Qaeda leader, was killed in a controversial drone strike in 2011.
Trump is also expected to join Owens' family for a private ceremony.
The trip was not on Trump's public schedule. A small group of journalists traveled with Trump on the condition that the visit was not reported in advance.