While millions of French marched with dozens of world leaders including Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu this Sunday in Paris and around France, the United States sent only our Ambassador to France and no one else. Eric Holder was in town, but apparently was too busy or not interested in attending (the Department of Justice had no comment).
Today the outrage was palpable. Many felt that the US should have had a significant presence there (aren’t we leading the war on terror, or something?) and failed to show unity with the world when we had the option. It came up during a White House press conference, and Josh Earnest had this to say on the President’s behalf:
“I think it’s fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there.”
Earnest also said that “had the circumstances been a little different” then President Obama would have liked to attend himself. He said there was an “onerous and significant” amount of security work that had to be done prior to the President’s arrival, and they were afraid that the extra security would have inconvenienced those already planning to be there.
Those statements seem to be false, since virtually immediately the Secret Service said this:
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) January 12, 2015
Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent who nearly won a House of Representatives seat in formerly-blue Maryland last November chimed in:
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) January 13, 2015
All Earnest had to say was the first sentence, and then just stop talking. But, he didn’t, and now we are forced to once again deal with the repercussions of being represented by a dishonest President. It was later reported that “White House aides were so caught off guard by the march’s massive size and attention that they hadn’t even asked President Barack Obama if he wanted to go.”
There are two problems there; first that the President’s team got caught off guard by the massive size and attention and second that we are led to believe by that statement that the President had no initiative to say to the Secret Service that he wanted to go and they should make it happen. Who didn’t think the streets would be full of angry French? The Germans have routinely been having rallies in excess of 15,000 participants and France has been subjected to more direct attacks against their population. Surely the White House staff would have known the expected scale of the protests. But the President didn’t want to go, or else he would have at least gone to the White House staff and asked them, and the Secret Service would have generated a threat assessment and a plan of action.
Is this how he wants us to perceive him? He tells lies to save from losing face, and in the telling he becomes a caricature of himself. The same scenario played out recently when Obama said that he wished Sony would have called him about pulling their movie ‘The Interview’ from theaters after being hacked by a group presumed to be from North Korea. Sony immediately replied that they had been in touch with the White House prior to making the decision. Why do we put up with politicians who are willing to lie to us?
Bonus: Even Politico delivered snark about lack of USA representation in Paris: