State Department: On second thought, yeah, our boss was on his yacht during the coup
posted at 12:23 pm on July 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
State Dept issues correction, acknowledges original @CBSThisMorning report that Kerry was aboard his boat "briefly" in Nantucket Weds
— Mosheh Oinounou (@Mosheh) July 5, 2013
Politico has more:
Secretary of State John Kerry was on his boat briefly on Wednesday, contrary to an earlier denial by the State Department, but was there only briefly and did not conduct official business while on board.
“While he was briefly on his boat on Wednesday, Secretary Kerry worked around the clock all day including participating in the president’s meeting with his national security council,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday. Kerry also held calls “with Norwegian Foreign Minister Eade,Qatari Foreign Minister al-Attiyah, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu, Egyptian Constitution Party President ElBaradei and five calls Ambassador Patterson on that day alone and since then he continued to make calls to leaders including Emirati Foreign Minister bin Zayed, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr.” None of the calls were made from aboard the boat.
Psaki had categorically denied the eyewitness report from a CBS producer:
“Since his plane touched down in Washington at 4 a.m., Secretary Kerry was working all day and on the phone dealing with the crisis in Egypt,” Psaki said Wednesday evening. “He participated in the White House meeting with the president by secure phone and was and is in non-stop contact with foreign leaders, and his senior team in Washington and Cairo. Any report or tweet that he was on a boat is completely inaccurate.”
Will the “completely inaccurate” claim result in a more accurate personnel action at State? Don’t count on it.
While this is a notable (or perhaps just humorous) event in terms of the credibility of the State Department and the Obama administration in general, it’s worth pointing out that it wasn’t a big deal if Kerry was on the yacht in the first place. As long as he can conduct his official duties from the ship and/or get to a place where he can do so quickly, it makes no difference what his location was. Kerry’s entitled to go on a vacation over a national holiday, after all. This sounds a lot like the kind of demonization of wealth that Kerry’s allies like to make on conservatives, of the kind we heard whenever George W. Bush went to his Texas ranch or whenever his father spent time in Kennebunkport. It’s a tempest in a teapot, albeit a rather amusing one thanks to the fumble at Foggy Bottom.