White House press secretary Josh Earnest admitted Monday that the United States should have sent someone more high-profile to the massive anti-terrorism unity rally that took place in Paris on Sunday.
“I think it’s fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile to be there,” Earnest said.
President Barack Obama’s absence from the rally, as dozens of other world leaders were in attendance, prompted an uproar on social media. U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley was the highest-ranking American official present.
“Had circumstances been different, the president himself would have liked to be there,” Earnest said.
He noted that the rally came together with 36 hours’ notice and called the security requirements for a presidential or vice presidential visit “onerous and significant.”
“We’re talking about a march that came together with essentially 36 hours’ notice, a march that occurred outdoors with obviously a very large number of people who participated,” Earnest said. “We want to try to mitigate the impact that the secure precautions would have had.”