— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) January 11, 2015
As a demonstration of solidarity with the people of France and the slain cartoonists, leaders from around the world attended a unity march in Paris last week. Notably absent was President Barack Obama. In fact, no prominent member of the Obama Administration was at the march even though Attorney General Eric Holder was in France to discuss security issues in the wake of the terrorist attacks that took many lives including those of cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo and were the catalyst for the rally.
There was also a demonstration in sympathy with the unity march in Washington D.C. organized by the French government that drew notorious State Department official Victoria Nuland but no Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden. Secretary of State John Kerry kept his scheduled trip to India.
The unity rally in Paris was no small affair and included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Jordanian King Abdullah, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Needless to say, America’s absence was noticed.
The White House responded to the criticism by noting that the US Ambassador to France, Jane Hartley, did attend the unity rally. Hartley, like many US ambassadors to Western Europe, got her appointment by fundraising for President Obama’s political campaign and is unrecognizable to her fellow Americans let alone to a world audience looking for a symbol of American solidarity with France and the right to free expression.
So what’s the real reason for no prominent member of the Obama Administration attending the unity rally?
Update: From the Associated Press: White House says it “erred in not sending higher level official to anti-terror march in Paris”