President Barack Obama provoked fury in the U.S. on Thursday by casually devoting less than a minute to the deaths of 295 people aboard a Malaysian airliner, as he began an often jokey 16-minute speech about the need to expand America’s transportation infrastructure.
Obama declared in Wilmington, Delaware that ‘it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy,’ but not before enthusiastically declaring that ‘it is wonderful to be back in Delaware.’
‘Before I begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border. And it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy. Right now we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority.’
‘And I’ve directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian governemnt. The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why. And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families and passengers, wherever they call home.
Obama then jarringly quickly returned to his prepared remarks.
‘I want to thank Jeremie for that introduction’ he said. ‘Give Jeremie a big round of applause.’
‘It is great to be in the state that gave us Joe Biden. We’ve got actually some better-looking Bidens with us here today. We’ve got Beau and his wife, Hallie, are here. Give them a big round of applause. We love them.’
Obama also acknowledged the presence of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew with a joke.
‘Jack Lew’s signature is actually on your money,’ he said, ‘although it’s kind of illegible. We teased him when he first became treasury secretary that he was going to have to fix his signature a little bit because it looked just like a caterpillar running along the bottom.’
From there he launched into a 16-minute speech about transportation projects he wants Republicans to fund, complaining bitterly about their objections to his end-runs around the federal legislature.
‘When I have a chance to help communities like Wilmington, I’m going to do it,’ he said, as cable news networks focused on the lives lost in Eastern Ukraine.
‘That’s when my administration takes these executive actions, when Congress won’t act. And so far, the only response we’ve gotten from the Republicans is a lawsuit. They’re suing me for doing my job, instead of going ahead and doing their job.’
‘That’s disappointing,’ Obama said. ‘It’s a political stunt.’
Obama finished his speech by saying ‘Let’s build some bridges. Let’s build some roads. God bless America.’
The president’s next stop after Wilmington was New York City, where he headlines a Democratic Party fundraiser Thursday evening. Tickets for the cozy event go for as much as $32,400.
I don’t think that Obama provoked fury yesterday. The reactions I saw were incredulous and disgusted, but I don’t recall anyone being angry. From what I understand (I didn’t watch so I’m getting my information second-hand) the various news anchors on all the regular and news networks simply switched away from Obama’s speech when they realized he was just repeating some unimportant policy/campaign talking points.
“It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.”
By the time Obama spoke it was beyond question that something terrible had taken place. A jetliner full of people had crashed with no survivors. Why it crashed and who (if anyone) was responsible was still undetermined.
“Right now we’re working to determine whether there were American citizens on board. That is our first priority.”
That statement kinda rankles me and I’m an American. If I was a citizen of some other country I probably would be insulted to hear an American president indicate that all that the Americans care about is other Americans. That may be equally true of all countries but it sure seems like a pretty insensitive thing to say at a time like that.
Before he gave that speech, Obama had a photo-op lunch at the Charcoal Pit in Wilmington, Delaware. He ordered the “Pit Special” which is a cheeseburger with fries. (He ordered it medium well.) With the media watching and waiting for a reaction to the plane crash in Ukraine, Obama’s only comment was “I’m starving” before he sat down to eat.
After the speech, Obama left for New York City where he attended not one but TWO fundraisers.
By the way – the plane crash in Ukraine was not the only crisis yesterday. The ground war in Gaza started too. On most days that would have been the big story, but it was pushed into second place behind the plane crash.
Some presidents might have interrupted their planned schedules in order to return to the White House, but not Barack Obama. So what big things does he have planned for tomorrow?
9:30 am || Receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
1:30 pm || Meets with Treasury Secretary Lew
1:45 pm || Meets with Lew and Secretary of State Kerry
4:20 pm || Meets with HHS Secretary Burwell
5:40 pm || Departs the White House for Camp David
As this writing, Pres Obama scheduled to fly to Camp David late tomorrow afternoon for a weekend stay.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 18, 2014
It’s a safe bet will play at least one round of golf this weekend. Obama has a two week vacation scheduled next month that he needs to rest up for.
Seriously though, this is getting scary. I have never seen a president that was this deep in denial. He just goes about his daily routines as if the whole world was not on fire. He is Barack Obama – Queen of Denial.
The problem is we need somebody to be president for two and a half more years. I can’t believe I am saying this, but even Joe Biden is starting to look good by comparison.