An elite British soldier who apparently organized the operation that rescued American hostages in Nairobi and personally shot two Somali Islamic terrorists revealed that President Trump made an unplanned meeting to personally thank him.
The SAS hero, who uses the name Chris Craighead, was training Kenya’s security forces on January 15, 2019, when Islamic terrorists from the group Al-Shabaab, a Somali organization linked to Al-Qaeda, attacked the DusitD2 hotel complex. “Despite being off-duty and out shopping at the time, Craighead had his gear in his car, so tooled up and raced down to the complex to help out. After arriving, he ‘organized the entire operation’ – according to fellow SAS veteran Chris Ryan – including directing the police and army,” the Daily Mail reported.
Craighead then raided the hotel complex himself, shooting the terrorists and carrying hostages to safety. He subsequently was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC), the U.K.’s second-highest military award.
14 people were murdered in the attack from Al-Shabaab; the terrorist group claimed the attack was launched to take revenge for President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as The Times of Israel reported. Al-Shabaab stated, “The Mujahideen carried out this operation … [as] a response to the witless remarks of US President Donald Trump, and his declaration of Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as the capital of Israel.”
Among the murdered victims was one American, the co-founder of I-DEV International, Jason Spindler.
On Monday, Craighead, whose fiancée Shealah Craighead serves as the president’s chief official White House photographer, posted a photo of his meeting with Trump. He stated that Trump “heard… that I was in town” and “took time to thank me personally for saving American lives.” His face was blurred in the photo to protect his identity, as is common with SAS forces.
Craighead wrote, “Last year I had the privilege of meeting with the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. … I’ll leave this with you: The meeting was unplanned and he had nothing to gain from it. When he heard from key figures of the administration that I was in town, he took the time to thank me personally for saving American lives.”
After he was noted for his exploits, other members of his SAS unit expressed disapproval of Craighead’s notoriety, as SAS members are trained to avoid the spotlight. In September 2019 reports indicated that Craighead had quit the unit, then launched an Instagram page, posting photos and notes regarding his equipment and his training, prompting concern among U.K. defense officials.
One friend of Craighead said, “There was a very bitchy response inside the SAS camp to him getting a CGC. At the time, other blokes had been fighting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for months without any official recognition. Nobody outside the regiment will ever learn what they did. So they turned their back on him, which was really harsh. He deserved several pats on the back and it is such a shame his SAS career has ended like this.”