The White House today acknowledged that it should have sent a senior official to Sunday’s march honoring the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks.
“We should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest during today’s briefing. The United States was represented by its ambassador to France, and has come under criticism for not sending the president or some other senior official.
But that “someone,” Earnest indicated, should not have been the president.
“I think the president himself would have liked to have had the opportunity to be there,” Earnest said, suggesting that attendance by Obama would have harmed the event. Security requirements for either the president or the vice president are steep, Earnest said, and would have had a “pretty significant impact” on others at the event.
But Earnest acknowledged that the Secret Service had not even been consulted on the matter.
Earnest suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder, who was in Paris during the march, or “somebody like him” should have attended or been asked to attend.
Earnest dodged a question from ABC’s Jonathan Karl about who was responsible for the mistake.
“I’m not going to be in a position to unpack all of the logistical and scheduling conversations that have taken place here at the White House over the last several days,” Earnest said, and then quickly moved on to another questioner.
But he later added, “This was not a decision that was made by the president.”