The grieving parents of a British teen who died in a car crash involving an American diplomat's wife say a top White House official tried to bully them into taking part in a twisted publicity stunt.
Harry Dunn, 19, died on August 27 when his motorcycle collided with a Volvo driven by Anne Sacoolas outside an air force base in southern England used by the US military.
Ms Sacoolas, the wife of US Government agent Jonathan Sacoolas — who has been described as a "spy" — was allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road when she struck Mr Dunn head-on.
Ms Sacoolas initially co-operated with police, assuring them she had no plans to leave Britain. She was then spirited out of the country on a military jet after the US falsely claimed she was covered by diplomatic immunity.
On Tuesday, Harry's devastated parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn flew to Washington after receiving a call from the White House inviting them to meet with a "very senior government official" whose identity was not revealed.
"The mood was quite buoyant. We were looking forward to it," family spokesman and retired lawyer Radd Seiger, who is travelling with the couple, told the Associated Press.
Instead, they were blindsided by US national security adviser Robert O'Brien, who had secretly brought Ms Sacoolas to the White House in a bizarre plan to unite the two parties in front of the White House press corps.
The couple's lawyer Mark Stephens said his clients had no idea their son's alleged killer would be in the building when they arrived and were stunned by the proposition.
Mr Stephens said the adviser tried to force a meeting between the grieving parents and Ms Sacoolas, followed by a photo opportunity where he hoped the trio would embrace for the cameras.
He said Mr O'Brien had behaved like a "nincompoop".