After coming under public attack for its low representation at the Paris rally this week, the White House admitted it should have sent a higher-ranking official.
The White House has publicly admitted it erred when deciding not to send a high-ranking official to the rally in Paris against Islamic terror and in support of freedom, which was attended by dozens of leaders from around the world and millions of demonstrators.
US President Barack Obama was criticized for his absence at one of France’s largest pro-peace rallies ever.
“It’s fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there,” Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said at his daily briefing with reporters on Monday.
Asked to respond to critics who questioned the decision not to send a more recognizable American official than Jane D. Hartley, the US ambassador to France, Earnest said, “We agree.”
He cited security and logistic issues as part of the problem: “The security requirements around a presidential visit, or even a vice-presidential visit, are onerous. It would have been very difficult to do so without significantly impacting the ability of common citizens to participate.”
This, however, did not seem to be an issue for many other world-class leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who would likely have been a prime target for Islamic terrorists.
A Lost Opportunity
Obama’s failure to attend the event or send a high-level official to the solidarity march was a “lost opportunity,” Gerald Seib, bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, commented.
“It’s an article of faith in diplomacy that every crisis also carries the seeds of opportunity. So it is with the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in France: It represents a chance to change the global attitude toward what can only be described as a rising tide of extremism and intolerance,” Seib writes. “Few nations have more at stake in stemming this rising tide than does the US.”
By: United with Israel Staff