The US and Saudi Arabia have partnered on both commercial and military efforts in the Middle East region, so when the presumptive heir to the throne in Riyadh passed away on Saturday, one would expect the President to offer his condolences in a sincere and sober manner. Doing it from the fourth fairway really doesn’t qualify:
At 11:42 am Saturday, White House press pooler Christi Parsons of the Los Angeles Times sent out word that Obama had already arrived at the Andrews Air Force Base golf course. Nearly half an hour later, at 12:11 pm, the White House sent out a statement by Obama on the Saudi prince’s death.
It was with great regret that I learned of the passing of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia . . . On behalf of the American people, I extend my deepest condolences to King Abdullah, the royal family, and the people of Saudi Arabia.
Just in case the Saudis think that this is a specific insult to them, let them recall how Obama commemorated the lost on Memorial Day in 2009 — and at least he did better with the Saudi Crown Prince than with the funeral of Poland’s late president. On the other hand, Obama went on this golf outing while avoiding a protest over the listing of an Iranian dissident group as a terrorist organization, which doesn’t exactly honor al-Aziz, either.
But hey — if a famous golfer ever passes away, at least Obama will have the protocol for responding to that down cold.
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