The mother of U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, killed in the 2012 Benghazi attacks, has called on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his supporters to stop mentioning her son, blasting their references to his death as “opportunistic and cynical.”
“As Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’s mother, I am writing to object to any mention of his name and death in Benghazi, Libya, by Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party,” wrote Mary F. Commanday. “I know for certain that Chris would not have wanted his name or memory used in that connection. I hope that there will be an immediate and permanent stop to this opportunistic and cynical use by the campaign.”
Trump has regularly mentioned Stevens at campaign stops, and tweeted about him just last month:
If you want to know about Hillary Clinton’s honesty & judgment, ask the family of Ambassador Stevens.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2016
Stevens sister has also publicly condemned her brothers name being used for political purposes.
“I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta,” said Stevens. “They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. We all recognize that there’s a risk in serving in a dangerous environment. Chris thought that was very important, and he probably would have done it again. I don’t see any usefulness in continuing to criticize her. It is very unjust.”
Margaret Nagle, a personal friend of Stevens and an award winning screenwriter, says the exploitation of Benghazi has missed the point that Stevens made the choice to be there.
“I’m so sorry Chris Stevens grieving family has had to live through not just losing him but having his life and legacy politicized in this way,” said Nagle. “All of us who were lucky enough to know Chris knew he understood the risks of his job. The last conversation I had with him was about this. I’m grateful that his mother and sister have spoken out. He was a remarkable and unforgettable human being.”
Republicans made the attacks a central theme of their convention last week, blaming Clinton for the deaths of the four Americans, despite nine investigations, including one led by House Republicans, that did not reach that conclusion.
Pat Smith, whose son Sean Smith was also killed in the attack, spoke to the GOP convention last week and had a different view saying, “I blame Hillary Clinton personally for the death of my son.”