Carl and Marsha Mueller, of Prescott, praised President Donald Trump and criticized former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden.
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The parents of Arizonaâs Kayla Mueller, the aid worker who was kidnapped and killed in Syria in 2015, blamed their daughterâs death on the inaction of the Obama administration â and the continued silence of then-Vice President Joe Biden â in a speech Thursday atÂ the Republican National Convention.Â
Prescott residents Carl and Marsha Mueller thanked President Donald Trump for directing the military strike that killed terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a mission named for Kayla Mueller.
The Muellers described the 18 agonizing months their daughter was imprisoned, tortured and repeatedly raped without rescue from the U.S.
âWe put all our faith in the government,â Carl Mueller said. âBut the government let us down. President (Barack) Obama refused to meet with us until ISIS had already beheaded other Americans.
âTo this day, weâve never heard from Joe Biden. Instead, the Obama administration hid behind policy so much that we felt hopeless when they kept us from negotiating to save Kaylaâs life. The administration showed more concern for the terrorists in Guantanamo than for the American hostages in Syria.â Â
âCarl and I support Donald Trump because of his commitment to make and keep America great, not with the power of the government, but with the passion of people like Kayla â Americans who, even in the darkest days, always have more fight left inside of them. Americans who donât just talk; they act,â she said.
The GOP convention offered perhaps the broadest audience yet for a family forced to process the loss of their only child in public.
Mueller was killed during an airstrike by Jordanian jets in Syria. Her parents later confirmed her death. Her body has not been recovered.Â
âWhat this man did to Kayla â he kidnapped her,â her fatherÂ told The Arizona Republic after Trump announced al-Baghdadiâs death. He said she had been held in prisons, at times in solitary confinement. âShe was tortured. She was intimidated. She was ultimately raped by al-Baghdadi himself.âÂ
The Muellers have expressed their gratitude for the president and the operation that led to the terroristâs death.
Earlier this year, the couple were guests at Trumpâs State of the Union, where he spoke of the operation by an elite Special Forces team that killed al-Baghdadi. The operation held the mission name âTask Force 8-14,â in honor of Kaylaâs birthday.
âCarl and Marsha, America’s warriors never forgot Kayla â and neither will we,â Trump said at the time.Â
Their daughter was raised in Prescott and attended Northern Arizona University. WhileÂ working in Turkey as an aid worker, she trekkedÂ into northern Syria with a friend to visit a hospital.
She became one of fourÂ Americans held hostageÂ by the Islamic State. The group also included journalistÂ James Foley, who once taught at an elementary school in Phoenix.Â
Several efforts to rescue her proved futile. The late Sen.Â John McCain, R-Ariz., flew to meet with heads of state across the region. An aide to Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., sought leads by traveling to Turkey.Â
Her parents have retired after working as a nurse and running an auto body repair shop.Â
« They now work full time on finding the truth of Kaylaâs captivity, promoting her belief in peace and justice with compassion by telling Kaylaâs story of her short lifeâs work, and building the Kaylaâs Hands Foundation, » the Trump campaign said in a statement.
Thursday’s convention theme, « Land of Greatness, » will honor Trump’s restoration of American greatness, the campaign said, « and how he will keep it going despite Democrats’ attacks. »
TrumpÂ is the star of the convention’s final night. He will deliver his renomination acceptance speech from the South Lawn of the White House.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and his wife, Angela, are at the White House to watch Trump’s speech. A Ducey spokesman said no public funds wereÂ used to pay for the couple’s trip.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, video from CNN showed the governor in a dense crowd without wearing a mask, like most shown at the event.
To coincide with the Republicansâ finale, dozens of former McCain staffers announced their support for Trump’s rival, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. From the earliest days of Trumpâs first presidential run, McCain condemned Trumpâs divisiveness, spawning a years-long battle over the direction of the GOP.Â
In making their endorsement, the McCain veterans invoked the âCountry Firstâ motto of McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
âIt is in that spirit that we are supporting his friend, Joe Biden,â they wrote in a column posted on Medium by âMcCain Alums for Joe Biden.âÂ
The column continues: âWe trust that as President, Joe Biden will lead an urgent, comprehensive national effort to contain the COVID pandemic. We trust he will call on Americans to remember our common interests and responsibilities, and not worsen the grievances that have polarized our politics. And we trust that he will defend American interests and values from all enemies, foreign and domestic.â
Ahead of Thursdayâs programming, McCainâs widow, Cindy McCain, posted a video of her husband that featured footage of him at political conventions over the years.Â
« Johnâs energy at the conventions throughout the years was contagious and his messaging was always clear: America is a cause worth fighting for. As we enter into this political season, let us not forget from John that summarizes the video,â she wrote on Twitter.
Johnâs energy at the conventions throughout the years was contagious and his messaging was always clear: America is a cause worth fighting for. As we enter into this political season, let us not forget from John that summarizes the video.https://t.co/UCt219OJg9
The McCain staffersâ endorsement comes the same week of the second anniversary of McCainâs death. He died Aug. 25, 2018, after a battle with brain cancer, an anniversary that was not marked at the GOPâs convention.
Last week, at the Democratic National Convention, Biden showcased his friendship with McCain. Cindy participated in the video that ran during Biden’s convention.Â
Have news to share about Arizona’s U.S. senators or national politics?Â Reach the reporter on Twitter and Facebook. Contact her at [email protected] and 602-444-4712.
Subscribe for free to The GaggleÂ political podcast on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, or wherever you listen to audio content.
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