Attorney General Eric Holder will be representing the United States at Sunday afternoon’s rally against terrorism in Paris, France, according to news reports. President Barack Obama has no public events scheduled, and Secretary of State John Kerry is on a trip to India.
The rally, which millions are expected to attend, will feature several European heads of state and dozens of high-level delegations from other countries. The demonstration is a response to last week’s deadly attacks by radical Islamic terrorists on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and on a kosher supermarket, in which twelve and four people were killed, respectively.
Holder is notorious for denying the links between radical Islam and terrorism, preferring instead to blame “extremism.” In testimony to Congress in May 2010, Holder refused to blame radical Islam in addressing the possible motives of terrorists who had recently launched attacks against the United States. “I don’t want to say anything negative about a religion,” he said.
Holder has also sought to try terrorists in the federal, civilian courts rather than at military tribunals in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. His department investigated the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” but declined to prosecute any agents. Instead of extended questioning, the U.S. now reads terror suspects their Miranda rights fairly soon after apprehension, under new Department of Justice policies.
In addition, Holder has shown lenience to terrorists in the past. During the administration of Bill Clinton, he reportedly pushed the Department of Justice to drop its objection to the commutations of sentences for members of a Puerto Rican terrorist group.
Fox News reports that Holder will also be participating in meetings in Paris with international counterparts about stopping terror attacks.
Holder will also be the featured guest on five major Sunday morning news programs, except for Fox News Sunday.
President Obama is focused on his domestic agenda, and is preparing to continue a nationwide tour this week to preview his upcoming State of the Union address, which will be delivered to Congress the following week.
It is possible that Obama has plans to attend the rally but has not announced them for security reasons. Typically, Obama plays golf on Sunday afternoons, declining to continue a personal golf moratorium that George W. Bush initiated in deference to the fact that U.S. troops area at war abroad. There are also two important NFL playoff games on television on Sunday.
Update: AFP’s live feed from the rally shows heads of state and foreign dignitaries marching through Paris.
Update: Pressed by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Sunday morning to answer whether the U.S. is at war with “radical Islam,” Holder again declined.
“I would say that we are at war with terrorists who commit these heinous acts and who use Islam. They use a corrupted version of Islam to justify their actions,” he said on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak