POTUS Obama’s Absence From France Sunday – A Moral Abdication Of Responsibility/Leadership

The largest gathering of French citizens in recorded history; larger than the celebrations in Paris when WWII ended; and, the POTUS who is a Nobel Prize winner was nowhere to be found. Neither he, nor VPOTUS had any scheduled appointments yesterday — it was widely reported — yet, all the White House could do is send a lame duck Attorney General who treats terrorism as work place violence and a legal matter. Moreover, it has been widely reported that Mr. Holder did not even stay for the festivities; and, the U.S. was left being represented by a campaign contributor/Ambassador that very few Americans have even heard of. This was a moral abdication of leadership.

The foreign leader who showed the most courage and leadership over the weekend, was Egypt’s President Sisi — who called for a reformation in the Islamic world. Now, if the Nobel Committee and Hollywood want to applaud someone — Egypt’s Sisi is an obvious choice.

The new Congress should invite Sisi to address a joint session. That would be a powerful message — and, the right one to send. V/R, RCP

http://www.nytimes.com/ politics/first-draft/2015/01/ 12/

World leaders marched in Paris on Sunday. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was in Paris, but he did not take part in the march.World leaders marched in Paris on Sunday. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was in Paris, but he did not take part in the march.Credit Patrick Kovarik/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images

Good Monday morning from Washington, where President Obama is under fire by conservatives because he did not attend the antiterrorism unity march in Paris, Republicans are moving quickly to set the tone in a Congress they control, and several Democrats appear ready to buck their party’s leadership. A Yale study finds that Republicans are sharply split over climate change and what to do about it. And Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin schools Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

It was a photograph printed, broadcast and tweeted around the globe: The front line of Sunday’s Paris unity march. There was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. Between them were the French president, the German chancellor and the leader of Mali, arm in arm.

Glaringly missing were President Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. or Secretary of State John Kerry.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was in Paris for an antiterorrism meeting, but he didn’t march. The United States ambassador, Jane D. Hartley, did march, but her presence was not widely noted in a crowd of more than a million people that included 40 world leaders.

“Not an excuse in universe can explain why US failed to send to Paris a more visible rep. than Holder. MIAs BHO/Mrs BHO/Kerry/Biden,” tweeted Aaron David Miller, a former State Department official who has worked for both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Conservatives were uniformly brutal, as expected, with some snidely pointing out that Mr. Obama did make room on his schedule to meet the N.B.A. champions, the San Antonio Spurs, at the White House on Monday.

The White House declined to say whether Mr. Obama or Mr. Biden had considered marching. One administration official noted that the president had issued several public statements about the terrorist attacks, made a condolence trip to the French Embassy in Washington and had spoken on the phone with President François Hollande of France.

A senior State Department official said that Mr. Kerry couldn’t attend because was in India meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a trip that had long been scheduled. However, Mr. Kerry said on Monday that he would fly to Paris this week in a gesture of support for the French government.

On CNN, Fareed Zakaria took a nuanced view of what he said was a White House mistake. The absence in Paris of a high-ranking American leader, he said, highlighted that the fight against Islamic terrorism is “not all about America.”

– Michael D. Shear and Steve Kenny

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