CNN’s Jake Tapper was one of the first pundits to highlight President Barack Obama’s absence from yesterday’s major rally in Paris and his criticism continued today after White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest admitted someone of a “higher level” should have attended the event.
“I think that there was something more about this than just optics,” Tapper told Wolf Blitzer from Paris Monday afternoon. “This is being referred to here in France as France’s 9/11.”
Looking back at 9/11, an attack he admitted was clearly on a much larger scale than what happened at the Charlie Hebdo offices last week, Tapper said, “you have to look at the fact of, who was the first worlder to come to the United States after that awful trauma, who was it?”
“Well, it was the president of France, it was Jacques Chirac,” he said, answering his own question. “He came to Washington, D.C. and New York right after 9/11, within a week and a half or so. I don’t think that’s a mistake. We have a special relationship with this country. It’s obviously not shaken by the fact that President Obama wasn’t there or Joe Biden wasn’t there or Mitch McConnell or John Boehner or any other American leader. But it would reaffirmed it in the minds of not just the French people but the American people.”
Indeed, as the BBC reported on September 20, 2001, President Chirac was the first foreign leader to visit the U.S. after the attacks.
“France, I can tell you, will not stand aside in a fight against a scourge that defies all democracies,” Chirac said from the UN. “Today it is New York that was tragically struck but tomorrow it may be Paris, Berlin, London.”
Watch video below, via CNN:
[Photo via screengrab]
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