A follow up to this morning’s Obamateurism of the Day. So obviously horrible is this mistake, and so inevitable was his amends, that I feel bad holding it against him. Even if you assume the worst about The One, there’s no way he’d bungle the name of a Medal of Honor recipient unless he was having a total brain freeze. The optics of a C-in-C confusing two soldiers famous for their supreme valor is too awful for words:
On Thursday at Fort Drum, the president told troops from the 10th Mountain Division that he previously “had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously.”
Wrong. Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti was actually killed in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006. In September 2009, President Obama awarded him the Medal of Honor posthumously.
On his Facebook page this evening, Monti’s father, Paul, posted: “FYI- President Barack Obama telephoned me personally this afternoon to apologize for his error in his speech to the 10th mountain division re: Jared’s medal ceremony. Apology accepted.”
Why did this gaffe have such resonance online? Because, I think, people feel justly ashamed that U.S. soldiers toil in near-obscurity in Afghanistan and Iraq while the public goes about its business at home. A famously brutal quote: “The Marine Corps is at war, America is at the mall.” People will suffer that shame quietly most of the time, but for the president to inadvertently disrespect a Medal of Honor recipient who gave his life in battle by forgetting his name is too much. I’m glad O recognized it and acted quickly to try to undo the damage.