Republicans have been complaining about Obama being in Cuba when a terrorist attack happened in Brussels, Belgium, killing 31, and not cancelling his visit.
Do they complain when the POTUS stays abroad when there is an attack in third world countries? What are the criteria for approval of POTUS behavior? Can the POTUS play golf after any terrorist attack, or only selected ones?
It’s not appropriate for the Obama to stay abroad after a terrorist attack – that shows a lack of seriousness and toughness. It’s also not appropriate for him to come home – that’s a response based on fear and demonstrates weakness. Going to Brussels would be coddling our allies, when they need to toughen up. Arming himself and going to Syria to fight ISIS would just be absurd.
Clearly, Obama’s only reasonable choice is to commit seppuku.
Well, Bush the Lesser was quite properly at home and manning the White House when that terrible invasion of Iraq occurred, the one that violated international law and ultimately spread terrorism throughout the Middle East and beyond.
I guess I would want my head of government to come back depending on whether it was a domestic attack/devastation or foreign, whether there is more that they could do from home than where they currently are, and the importance of why they’re there in the first place. In an ideal world I don’t actually care too much about that first point in of itself but a politician who didn’t come back after some terrible domestic event would be writing their own political suicide note.
What exactly could the president do from DC that he could not do from Air Force One or the secure communications suite at the place he was staying?
That attack was in Brussels, not Bethesda. It’s not at all clear to me that Obama had a particularly meaningful role to play here–he makes a statement about the tragedy and horror, directs DoD and State to coordinate with their European counterparts to find out what US assets might be needed, gets a briefing from the spooks about what they know or suspect, and goes back to what he was doing. The world does not stop because of a mid-level attack on foreign soil.
Thirty-five dead is bad, very bad, but it’s not 9/11 bad. Moreover, per wikipedia, there have already been 25 other terror attacks just in the last three months, including attacks in Pakistan, Libya, Nigeria, Iraq, and Kenya that have higher death tolls. If the president can’t travel abroad anytime there’s a big attack anywhere in the world, when is it safe to travel? Or do we let ISIL/Taliban/Boko Haram/etc. control the president’s schedule?
Exactly - anyone with half a brain knows what is goin on:
Whatever the president does - the republicans argue he should have done the opposite.
The president has a job to do - and the republicans do virtually nothing but complain and pass dozens of useless bills that they no wont get signed to repeal obamacare - just to appease their base.
We have 1 functioning branch of government - due to the republicans sole objective of staying in office. They don’t want a government and think that we can do stuff on postcards and negotiating trade deals.
The issue is not one of action. The president, whoever that may be, can communicate with relevant officials, be briefed, and communicate any decisions from wherever in the world.
But that is not the same as “looking presidential” which has become so important in the modern age of the 24/7 news cycle.
If Obama had some official photos released of him looking more presidential (serious glare with him holding a phone while talking to Washington) and combined that with a short speech solely on the Brussels attacks, preferably a joint address with Raul Castro, it would have gone over better. Instead he gave a 50 second addendum to a previously planned speech, went to a baseball game, and then flew to Argentina and danced the tango. Major image faux pas.
Obama is not the president of Belgium. Is an attack in Europe something that should take him away from this? I think forging new relationships with a former enemy (Cuba)is a great thing, and I fail to see what he could do about the attack in Belgium.
Nice try, but you’re still trying to have your cake & eat it too. It was immediately obvious that Brussels was a major terrorist attack, whereas before the second plane hit, it wasn’t clear that there had been a terrorist attack, and not just some freakish plane accident. If it wasn’t OK for Bush to finish reading to the kids, then it wasn’t OK for Obama to watch the end of the ballgame.
Either we need to accept that presidents should be concerned over the “optics” of their responses, or we need to STFU about what the prez was doing the exact picosecond some disaster struck.
Whether or not they realized the first plane was a terrorist attack, it was clearly a major disaster, AND Bush stayed with the class and the book after he was notified the second plane had hit the WTC, at which point it should have been rather clear that something bad was happening.
Meanwhile, the attacks in Belgium occurred in the middle of the night Havana time (which is six hours behind Brussels). By the time the baseball game even got started, Obama had already been briefed on the attack and had made a public statement, and knew that the Belgians thought they had the situation at least mostly under control (the city was locked down, the police had identified some of the suspects, at least one apartment was cordoned off and being searched, etc.).
It was not clearly a major disaster when the first plane hit at 8:50am. The Today Show got the report of the first hit and they quickly wrapped up an interview with Sarah Ferguson and cut to commercial.
They did not know how big the plane was. They did not know it was anything but an accident. They did not know it was terrorism.
Same goes for Fox’s Jon Scott who was reporting that morning. He is an experienced pilot and still did not realize it was a terrorist attack when the first tower was hit. Recalling five years later he said,
They knew it was bad. fires in skyscrapers are bad. There was a raging fire in a skyscraper in the UAE a couple days ago, but the world did not stop for it. It was a major story locally, and did get international coverage, but it was not a stop-the-presses moment.
No one in the media knew at that point that it was anything other than a small plane. And small private planes occasionally hit skyscrapers in New York before. The Trump Building was hit. The Empire State Building has been hit. It’s even happened after 9/11 when the Belaire Apartments were hit killing a New York Yankees pitcher.
But when the second plane hit at 9:03am there were already cameras focused on the WTC. And a gasp went out over the air at both the Today Show and at Good Morning America as they replayed footage of the second hit moments after it occurred. In *that *moment they knew it was a major disaster.
Bush had been informed of the first hit. He did not know that a terrorist attack was underway anymore than the news media mere blocks from the WTC knew.
When he was informed of the second hit he chose to complete the scheduled activity with schookids and then made a brief statement before the Secret Service moved him to an undisclosed location.