I really wasn’t going to write about this again, mostly because I was convinced that the national media had let Barack Obama off the hook completely for his tradition- and protocol-breaking bow to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. However, Ben Smith reports that the White House has now been asked about it, thanks to a Washington Times editorial scolding Obama for the move — and that they’re denying it ever happened:
The White House is denying that the president bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at a G-20 meeting in London, a scene that drew criticism on the right and praise from some Arab outlets.
“It wasn’t a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah,” said an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Washington Times called it the alleged bow a “shocking display of fealty to a foreign potentate,” and said it violated centuries of American tradition of not deferring to royalty. The Weekly Standard, meanwhile, noted, that American protocol apparently rules out bowing, or at least it reportedly did on the occasion of a Clinton “near bow” to the Emperor of Japan.
Interestingly, a columnist in the Saudi-backed Arabic paper Asharq Alawsat also took the gesture as a bow, and appreciated the move.
No bow? You tell me. Obama’s a lot taller than Queen Elizabeth, too, so compare the two greetings for yourself:
Originally, the excuse that had gotten floated around the media was that Obama was picking something off the floor. This video pretty much destroys that excuse:
Note also that this shows clearly that Obama did not “grasp [Abdullah’s] hand with both hands”; Obama’s left hand is in plain view, on his left leg, as he executes the deep-waisted bow.
Will the media finally report this, as Ben Smith did, now that the White House is trying to deny the obvious and rewrite history? Or will they continue to sit silently while Obama tinkles on their heads and calls it rain? (also thanks to HA reader Geoff A)