Almost two million people gathered in Paris Sunday for a unity march in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks. Among them, according to many sources, were more than 40 world leaders including French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and even Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
And representing the US … our Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley.
Where was President Obama? Or even Vice President Joe Biden? Our president didn’t see fit to stand with our oldest ally and the leaders of the free world when freedom of speech was attacked? Western leaders gathered in a show of unity against terrorism and we weren’t there. We should be the face of free expression. Yet our president couldn’t be bothered to show up in Paris?
Secretary of State John Kerry was in India Sunday but, after originally dismissing the criticism as “quibbling,” now says he’ll stop in Paris Thursday on his way home. Gee, by all means, if it’s not too much trouble, swing by there and extend our condolences.
US Attorney General Eric Holder was actually in Paris attending a security summit on combating terrorism, but he was not seen at the march.
It’s much too late for White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest to be saying, “We agree that we should have sent someone with a higher profile.” It’s much too late for him to be saying, “Had the circumstances been a little bit different, I think the President himself would like to have had had the opportunity to be there.” (Reports say the president had no public obligations and was instead watching football games.)
Word is the decision was made by staff members or the Secret Service, but President Obama knew what happened in Paris. He knew about the unity march. He’s the president. One word from him and Air Force One would have been winging its way to Paris, complete with all the security needed for him to march with the other world leaders — where he should have been.