President Obama has been strongly criticized by United States media for failing to go to Paris or send a high-ranking U.S. official in his place for the large anti-terrorism rally that attracted dozens of world leaders.
In wake of last week's radical Islamic terrorist attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, more than 1 million people flooded the streets of Paris on Sunday to march in solidarity in the largest demonstration in the country's history.
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Obama and Vice President Joe Biden had clear schedules that day, but did not attend. The highest-ranking American official who participated was Ambassador Jane Hartley, and NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell said on Nightly News she was nowhere near the front of the march.
The New York Daily News declared on its front page that the Obama administration "let the world down" with its snubbing.
Morning Joe‘s Joe Scarborough called it "amateur hour," and CNN's Jake Tapper wrote, "I was ashamed" as an American that neither Obama nor any high-level official found time to attend "arguably one of the most important public demonstrations in Europe in the last generation." On The Lead, Tapper noted that then-French president Jacques Chirac was the first foreign leader to visit the U.S. after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
As CBS reporter Major Garrett put it, the White House finally admitted that "when the world was watching, it was missing in action." Press Secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged Monday it was the White House's mistake to be essentially absent from the march.
Even The Daily Show got in on the action, with Jon Stewart mocking Obama's absence and looking on in faux-horror when he learned the U.S. was "making up" for its error by sending Secretary of State John Kerry later this week.
"Je suis to be kidding me," Stewart said.