When the world press took the White House over its knee for President Obama’s absence at Sunday’s anti-terror rally in Paris, the official response might well have been “my dog ate my homework.”
The White House cited security concerns and the fact that the rally came together quickly, in about 36 hours. [White House press secretary Josh] Earnest said presidential or vice presidential security for events such as the march are “onerous” and have a “significant impact” on those who attend.
Had the circumstances been different, “I think the president himself would have liked to have had the opportunity to be there,” Earnest said.
The man who wields the Mightiest Phone and Pen in the Universe could not have made a call and told his security detail to get to Paris with 36 hours notice? This man who wouldn’t interrupt his tee time after U.S. journalist James Foley was beheaded by ISIS, or to accommodate a military wedding that had been planned well in advance, or to attend the funeral of Major General Harold Greene who was killed by enemy action, simply could not get to Paris in three days. And we are supposed to believe this. At least in MG Greene’s case he sent Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and that was only a one-mile trip from the Pentagon to Arlington National Cemetery.
As a consolation, Secretary of State and human toothache* [mc_name name=’Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’K000148′ ] will be in Paris Thursday, only four days late for the rally, because he was in India Sunday and simply couldn’t spare a few days. This from the man who turned his jet around mid-flight to suck up to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in—you guessed it—Paris. Apparently Kerry will only tryst in Paris if his bromance partner Lavrov is there.
The highest ranking U.S. official to attend the Paris rally was U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley. She is the ambassador to France. She lives in Paris.
The White House is playing Who Can Make the Lamest Excuse or the French version “Qui peut faire le plus stupide excuse?” I’d rather hear Josh Earnest say “the cat needed a bath” or “the President’s pedicure was already planned”, or “we were going to send Al Sharpton but he had a scheduling conflict” than try to use the “security concern” explanation. If Bibi Netanyahu can be safe in Paris (he has to be one of the most hated men in the city, evidenced by the smile on terrorist Mahmoud Abbas’ face as they stood in the same line of “leaders”), then I think Obama can rest assured he would be quite safe from attack in Paris.
Ambassador Hartley traveled a whopping 3.26 kilometers (2 miles) to attend the rally. The real answer is that Obama cares this much, so he sent his very best.
*credit to Jonah Goldberg from National Review Online for that phrase (“After all, Kerry is an awful politician, a human toothache with the charisma of a 19th-century Oxford Latin tutor.”)
(crosspost from sgberman.com)