White House Press Secretary John Earnest acknowledges that the Obama administration should have had better representation at the Paris unity march.
“I think it’s fair to say that we should have sent somebody with a higher profile to be there,” Earnest said Monday.
Earnest made the comments following a firestorm of criticism that the only administration attendee to march with dozens of world leaders in Paris Sunday — as a show of solidarity following the Islamic terror attacks in the city — was the U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley.
“That said, there is no doubt that the American people and this administration stand foursquare behind our allies in France as they face down this threat and that was evident last week,” he added.
The press secretary said that Obama would have liked to have been at the march. He pointed to the short planning time and security concerns as reasons why the president was not in attendance, but wouldn’t provide details of Obama’s Sunday schedule.
“It wasn’t just an arena that needed to be secured but a large outdoor area that poses significant security challenges. I’m confident that the professionals at the Secret Service could overcome those challenges but it would have been very difficult to do so without significantly impacting the ability of common citizens to participate in this march,” he added.