White House Admits Someone of ‘Higher Profile’ Should’ve Attended Paris Rally
After facing criticism from a variety of sources over President Barack Obama’s decision to skip a major rally in France this weekend to honor those killed in the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest admitted during Monday’s briefing that the absence was probably a mistake.
Answering a question on the issue from AP reporter Jim Kuhnhenn, Earnest said, “Some have asked whether or not the United States should have sent someone with a higher profile than the ambassador to France. And I think it’s fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there.”
“That said, there is no doubt that the American people and this administration stand four square behind our allies in France as they face down this threat,” he continued, citing actions taken by the president on counterterrorism over the last week.
Pressed on who should have attended the event, Earnest said, “had the circumstances been a little different, I think the president himself would have like to have had the opportunity to be there.” Despite the fact that dozens of other world leaders, including the heads of Israel and Palestine, were in attendance, Earnest said it was partly security concerns that kept Obama away.
“The security requirements around a presidential level visitor or even a vice presidential level visitor are onerous and significant,” he said. “And in a situation like this they typically have a pretty significant impact on the other citizens who are trying to participate in a large public event like this.”
Watch video below, via CNN:
[Photo via screengrab]
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