Nearly a year-and-a-half after President Obama promised Islamic State terrorism victim Kayla Mueller's family he would contribute to a foundation set up in her memory, no such donation has been made, ABC News reported Friday.
On March 13, 2015, Obama told Carl and Marsha Mueller he would contribute to the foundation set up in her name, but, in an interview airing on Good Morning America, the parents said with disappointment that it had not occurred.
Kayla Mueller was doing humanitarian aid work in Syria in 2013 when she was snatched by ISIS, the fanatical Islamic terrorist organization bent on establishing a global caliphate. While ISIS videotaped the beheadings of three American men, the plight of "the girl left behind" was, according to ABC reporter Brian Ross, a closely kept secret.
Mueller's parents did behind-the-scenes work to try to free Mueller, trading 27 emails and sending the group videos pleading for her release. Ultimately, ISIS gave them an ultimatum: pay the $6.2 million ransom or receive pictures of their daughter's dead body.
The White House, the Muellers said, threatened them with prosecution if they did pay the ransom. In the end, she was killed.
"Later, when the president came to Arizona to console them, the Muellers say he made a promise to help the donation they set up in Kayla's name, and then broke it," Ross said.
Carl Mueller said Obama told them it would be an anonymous donation, but he would do it.
"I'm still waiting," he said.
"There hasn't been such a donation?" Ross asked.
"No. I'm still waiting for that donation, Mr. President," Mueller said. "You see the flag at my driveway. It's not something I take lightly, talking about our president that way, but that's what he said."
The White House confirmed to ABC that the donation hasn't been made but that Obama intends to keep his word:
In a statement, a White House official said, "The president will continue to support the goals of the organization in different ways, including by making a donation, as pledged to the Mueller family."
The president’s failure to, so far, live up to his word about the donation, the Muellers say, came after a series of missteps by the administration that they say failed their daughter.
"The president could have been a hero, but he chose not to," said Carl Mueller.
Also, a spokesperson said the White House worked tirelessly to retrieve Mueller and recognized the frustration of her family:
"The United States worked tirelessly to recover Kayla Mueller, as well as the other American hostages held by ISIL in Syria, using every tool at our disposal. In Kayla's case, these efforts included the personal involvement of senior Administration officials, including the Secretary of State, and extensive intelligence analysis that culminated in an attempted rescue operation by the U.S. Military," Price said.
"Despite our best efforts, we recognize these families were frustrated by and disappointed in the way their government supported them in their time of need. That is why President Obama ordered a comprehensive review of our hostage policy and the way we work with families. We relied on direct feedback, including from the Muellers, to inform the actions the President directed in June 2015 to create the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell that brings under one roof law enforcement, intelligence, and military capabilities as well as the designation of a Special Presidential Envoy to coordinate diplomatic efforts. In addition, the Justice Department clarified its practices - stating publicly that it has never used the material support statute to prosecute a family for paying a ransom for the safe return of their loved one."