Two weeks ago, President Barack Obama took it on the chin in the press for his atonal decision to fundraise and engage in “man of the people” photo opportunities while the media was squarely focused with the crisis at the border. He followed up that command performance this week by doing exactly the same thing amid crises overseas.
Finding it more difficult than normal to cast the president as a focused and engaged crisis manager, the media is noticing Obama’s display of contempt for presidential “optics.”
ABC’s White House correspondent Jonathan Karl brought up the president’s flippant disregard for the sensibilities of the press on Monday during the White House press briefing. “Was that a mistake in hindsight?” Karl asked of the president’s specific decision not to change his campaign-like schedule on Thursday in the wake of the attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.
“It was not,” White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest replied.
Obama’s press secretary said that Obama made a variety of telephone calls on Thursday to some of the world leader impacted by this crisis and to the members of his national security team.
“If there were a requirement for the president to change his schedule so that he can attend to this urgent priority and fulfil his responsibilities as commander-in-chief, we would not have hesitated to make that change,” Earnest added.
Now, that’s strange. If Obama was forced by, say, Congress to appear engaged during global crises, well he most certainly would go ahead and comply with that “requirement.” Since no such rule exists, however, what are you going to do? Sue him?