Barely two weeks into 2015 and I don’t know who looks worse: President Barack Obama or the Republican Party. Obama couldn’t find the time to join other world leaders and 1.5 million people in Paris for a march to stand up for freedom and stare down Islamic terrorists. A Republican Congressman compares Obama’s absence to Hitler’s invasion of Paris in World War II.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest admitted the United States screwed up in not sending someone with “a higher profile” to Paris to mourn the 17 lives lost in the worst terrorist attack on France since 1961.
And that someone should have been Obama — not the US Ambassador to France Jane Hartley. The administration’s excuses for Obama’s absence were even worse: security would have been difficult, Obama went to the French embassy and signed the condolence book, and he couldn’t make it to Paris on time.
On a network whose coverage is usually deferential to Obama, CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted that President Barack Obama’s absence was an embarrassment. Later, Tapper wrote “as an American: I was ashamed.”
Toning down his rebuke of Obama, Tapper also wrote that Republican Congressional leaders — House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — also should have traveled to Paris.
No, it was Obama’s job, as president and he failed miserably.
Enough said, right? We can all agree regardless of our political stripes that what Obama did was low and in the poorest of taste. But a member of the Republican Party had to have the last, embarrassing word and take it a step further. Republican Representative Randy Weber tweeted:
“Even Adolph Hitler thought it more important than Obama to get to Paris. (For all the wrong reasons.) Obama couldn’t do it for right reasons”
Comparing Obama to Hitler and invoking the Nazis’ 1940 invasion of Paris when Germany rounded up Jews to exterminate them is disgusting. Weber’s tweet is even more insensitive because France’s 500,000 Jews are scared to death after one of the terrorists took over a French Jewish grocery store, killing four people and holding others hostage. Not to mention the fact the attack on the grocery store Hyper Cacher was “one of the deadliest against France’s Jewish community since World War II” .
Currently, about half of the 10,000 soldiers guarding sensitive sites in France are “protecting France’s 717 Jewish schools,” as reported by the Washington Post.
Yet, Republican Congressman Weber thought it was cool to remind Jews in Paris about Hitler’s genocide, as they fear a similar one from Islamic terrorists. His tweet certainly isn’t becoming for a member of Congress, particularly a Republican one, whose party is battling an inclusion problem. With friends like Weber and House Majority Leader Scalise, who spoke to a white supremacist group in 2002, the Republican Party doesn’t need any enemies (especially on the inside).
But back to the President — as images of world leaders such as British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu linking arms with French President Francois Hollande spanned the globe, Obama’s absence was glaring.
As the leader of America, the world’s most powerful nation — a victim of 9/11, one of the worst terrorist attacks in history — Obama should have marched in Paris. As for Weber, he should have joined other Republicans and CNN’s Jake Tapper and left his remarks at that. Instead, Weber made Obama look good and the rest of us cringe.