President Obama and his administration are under “heavy” criticism today after no one from the Administration was present at the Unity Rally held in Paris yesterday. The rally was held to show a universal solidarity following the shooting at satricial newspaper Charlie Hebdo in the French capital. Officials at the White House have said there were good reasons why there was no one from the administration in attendance.
Leaders from some of America’s strongest allies were among the more than 40 heads of state marching in solidarity with French President François Hollande. The group included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were there.
In admitting their fault for not having a prominent official in attendance, the White House stated that the president’s attendance would have brought his security which would have significantly interfered with the crowd in attendance. But that didn’t really explain why there wasn’t any other high-ranking official representing the United States, including attorney general Eric Holder, who happened to be in Paris for counter-terrorism meetings.
However, one U.S. official was present at the rally: Ambassador to France Jane Hartley. Still to the chagrin of the world, no notable U.S. Official was there and that’s where the heavy criticism lies.
The president was quoted saying, “I want the people of France to know the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow”.
The White House announced Sunday that Mr. Obama will hold a summit next month on ways to counter violent extremism like the attacks in France.