President Donald Trump extended his gratitude to a British Special Air Service hero who helped save Americans during a jihadi attack on a Kenyan hotel in 2019, the soldier has revealed.
The soldier, who uses the pseudonym ‘Christian Craighead’, shared a photo of his meeting Trump at the White House on Instagram on Monday.
‘Last year I had the privilege of meeting the 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump,’ he wrote in the caption.
‘I’ll leave this with you: This wasn’t a planned meeting, there was nothing for him 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.’
The photo, which shows Trump shaking Craighead’s hand, was snapped by the soldier’s fiancée Shealah Craighead, who serves as the president’s Chief Official White House Photographer.
Craighead did not specify when the photo was taken. As he’s done with other images on his Instagram account, Craighead blurred his mouth to protect his true identity.
A British Special Air Service hero who helped save Americans during a jihadi attack on a Kenyan hotel in 2019 shared a photo of himself meeting President Donald Trump on Instagram on Monday. The Instagram account bears the soldier’s pseudonym, Christian Craighead
Craighead revealed few details about his meeting with Trump in the Instagram caption (above)
Craighead was stationed in Kenya to help train the nation’s soldiers when heavily armed jihadis from the al-Shabaab terror group seized the Dusit D2 luxury hotel complex in January 2019
Craighead received a bravery medal after he single-handedly defeated jihadis from the Somalia-based al-Shabaab terror group during a siege at the Dusit D2 luxury hotel complex in Nairobi on January 15, 2019.
Over the course of the 19-hour attack, the jihadis carried out a mass shooting, set fire to vehicles and detonated multiple explosives, leaving 21 people dead.
Footage of Craighead’s solo mission to end the attack was seen around the world, and he was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC), the UK’s second-highest military award.
Craighead is engaged to Shealah Craighead (pictured), who serves as the president’s Chief Official White House Photographer
It also caught the attention of President Trump, according to the photo Craighead posted this week.
Al-Shabaab had issued a statement after the attack saying that it was ‘in response’ to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Mail on Sunday revealed in September that Craighead had left the SAS after being shunned by fellow members in the elite regiment.
The newspaper reported that the soldier was so shaken by his treatment from SAS colleagues that he walked out of the regiment’s Hereford base and, to the dismay of his former bosses, began disclosing details about his mission on social media.
Using the same Instagram account where he posted the Trump photo, the veteran uploaded photos of his Special Forces career, including the picture of him masked and studying last-minute plans before entering the Dusit D2 hotel.
A photo of him bursting through a hotel door clutching an assault rifle bears the caption: ‘There are events in our lives which remind us that, as always, Who Dares Wins’ – the motto of the SAS.
Senior UK defense officials told the Mail on Sunday they were deeply concerned about the former soldier’s Instagram profile, which could force military chiefs to take legal action.
Footage of Craighead’s solo mission to end the Nairobi hotel siege was seen around the world, and he was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, the UK’s second-highest military award
Under strict rules, Special Forces troops must not discuss their missions in public or seek to ‘cash in’ on operations.
The rules were introduced following the furor over books by ex-troopers Chris Ryan and Andy McNab which dramatically raised the SAS’s public profile and led to concerns over Special Forces troops leaking sensitive information which could compromise future operations.
Craighead uses Instagram to promote equipment and weapons favoured by SAS troops – though it is unclear whether he is paid for the endorsements.
A source said: ‘We are worried about his actions online and we want to avoid any legal dispute with him.
Craighead obscures his mouth in all of his Instagram photos to protect his true identity
‘He is vulnerable, having only recently left the regiment where he felt undervalued by colleagues.’
Senior officials said they wanted to speak to him urgently in case he reveals his identity or any sensitive information about Special Forces operations.
Top brass were also alarmed at apparent plans for a book and a film about the Africa mission and the man’s friendship with Ryan, who launched a literary and film career after the Bravo Two Zero mission in the 1991 Gulf War in Iraq.
But friends of the disgruntled veteran said the blame lies with SAS officers and troops who denied him credit for his action. One 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.’
Craighead (right) is seen carrying a wounded man to safety during the hotel attack