U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power did not attend an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting Wednesday, Fox News reported.
The meeting was scheduled to discuss an alleged chemical weapons attack on Wednesday. Power’s decision not to attend drew criticism due to her past statements on Syria.
Power criticized the U.N. Security Council’s lack of action in Syria during her confirmation hearing. She also discussed the country in a Twitter town hall she hosted last week.
A U.S. mission official told Fox News that Power was on a “pre-arranged trip” and maintained that she was focusing closely on the Syria attack.
“Ambassador Power has secure communications and has been in constant contact with her staff and the White House,” the official said. “She is monitoring events, participated in the National Security Council meeting on Egypt convened by the president, and is providing instructions to her staff.”
One of the Obama administration’s most vocal critics of its U.N. operation, though, blasted Power for her absence.
“Samantha Power has been on the job exactly 19 days. In that time, she’s already traveled from New York to Los Angeles to deliver a speech. Her absence from the UN on Wednesday sends a terrible message at a time when U.S. credibility in the region is suffering,” Richard Grenell, a former U.N. spokesman under the George W. Bush administration, wrote in an online column.