The chief of staff for President Obama took the hit Tuesday for failing to send his boss or a more senior U.S. official to a recent Paris peace rally following terrorist attacks there.
“We’ve said that we regret we didn’t send somebody more senior than our ambassador. That rests on me. That’s my job,” Denis McDonough told TODAY’s Matt Lauer.
As photos of more than 40 world leaders linking arms and marching through the French capital beamed around the world, the Obama administration struggled to provide a clear explanation of why the president, Vice President Joe Biden or even Secretary of State John Kerry did not attend. Instead, the administration sent its ambassador to France, Jane Hartley.
McDonough said the perceived slight “obfuscated the very good progress” that U.S. intelligence agencies have undertaken with numerous European counterparts to confront terrorist threats.
“That’s what we ought to be focused on. Unfortunately, the decisions I made obfuscated that effort,” he said. “We’re going to make sure that we’re focused on that and working with our friends to make sure that something like this does not happen again.”
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